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DOJ Probes Possible Music Publishing Pricing Coordination

Requests documents from Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing, ASCAP, BMI

During the recent House subcommittee hearings on music licensing royalties, licensing groups referred to the possibility that some publishing companies want to take their catalogs out of ASCAP and BMI in search of better terms.

Now, as the Justice Department reviews the decades-old consent decrees for those organizations, the DOJ is also looking into possible pricing coordination among music publishers, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The DOJ sent out requests for information, officially called civil investigative demands, to Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing, along with ASCAP and BMI.

BMI and ASCAP would like to have their consent decree updated, we’ve reported. The DOJ requests also includes materials related to the two publishers’ efforts to withdraw their rights from their licensing deals with Pandora, according to the account.

Coinciding with the DOJ review, lawmakers are considering an overhaul of copyright law, including the regulations related to copyrighted music licensing.