U.S. broadcasters have entered the next chapter in an ongoing music rights saga.
The Radio Music License Committee has filed a motion against actions by Global Music Rights that it says will “protect commercial radio stations across the nation potentially, and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania specifically.”
This action follows its decision to file a 2016 antitrust lawsuit in the federal court in Philadelphia. It alleges GMR has attempted to require commercial stations to pay for music performance licenses it describes as “unfairly high and anticompetitive.”
In response, GMR offered interim licenses enabling participating broadcasters to play GMR compositions from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, if they contacted the music rights management company to strike a deal directly.
However, RMLC’s Philadelphia lawsuit prevents Pennsylvania stations from exercising this option, GMR wrote in a statement on its website on May 29. That same statement called RMLC a “bully” with “colossal buying power” and conversely described GMR as a startup.
RMLC is now asking the federal court “to enter a preliminary injunction order preventing GMR from engaging in these overtly coercive actions while the RMLC’s lawsuit proceeds” because it is concerned the GMR ban could extend beyond the Keystone State. This isn’t the first injunction RMLC has filed (one in November 2016 preceded the interim licensing offer from GMR).
Additionally, the RMLC “requests that the court order GMR to continue to offer [elective] interim music performance licenses” on “identical terms” to those already in effect based on GMR’s previous offer. RMLC says this temporary measure would provide insurance that other stations will be protected until the antitrust claim is resolved.
The RMLC represents more than 10,000 commercial radio stations with respect to music licensing matters.