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California Stations Ordered to Pay ASCAP Licensing Back Fees

Also ordered to pay attorney’s fees and cost for ASCAP

U.S. district judges in two separate decisions ruled against three California radio stations that “failed to pay ASCAP license fees over several years,” according to a press release from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Royce International Broadcasting Corp. stations KFRH(FM), KREV(FM) and KRCK(FM) broadcast songs written by ASCAP members without paying licensing fees — but principal owner Edward Stolz II then sought to apply for licenses under the ASCAP Consent Decree.

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According to ASCAP, “California U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal awarded more than $900,000 in attorney’s fees and costs in an infringement action filed by ASCAP.” That amount was determined after “an earlier jury verdict in the case that found Royce International and Stolz to be willful infringers and required them to pay $330,000 in statutory damages.” The judge also warned the stations not to play ASCAP members’ songs without a license.

Across the country, ASCAP said, New York U.S. District Judge Denise Cote — an ASCAP “rate court” judge — determined that the stations had applied for ASCAP licenses in an attempt to mitigate off the consequences of Judge Bernal’s injunction against playing ASCAP music. Additionally, Cote noted that the Royce stations are not entitled to ASCAP licenses until they pay the organization more than $319,000 in license fees and said that the amount is due no later than July 20, if the broadcaster wants to obtain ASCAP licenses for the three radio stations.