Home Uncategorized Major Songwriters Demand Halt To Publishers’ Digital Rights Exit From ASCAP, BMI

Major Songwriters Demand Halt To Publishers’ Digital Rights Exit From ASCAP, BMI

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image from www.texaswatchdog.org
Publishers
have
expressed their increasing intent to bypass ASCAP and
BMI to cut direct deals with digital music services
.
Now organizations representing a broad spectrum of
songwriters are questioning the deals. Notably
absent from the signatories to their open
letter is the North American Publishers
Association

Here is the full text of the open letter to the music public
community. [We’ve added bold for emphasis.]:

To the American Music Publishing
Community,

We are an international alliance of songwriter
and composer organizations representing tens of thousands of
music creators
throughout the world, many of whom
have created musical works in which you claim rights. We
recently reached out to your trade organization, the
National Music Publishers Association
(NMPA), hoping
the Association would agree to have a discussion with us
regarding unilateral withdrawal by publishers of rights and
repertoire from the performing rights organizations ASCAP and
BMI.

While the discussion we requested was well within the
bounds of applicable competition laws, the response we
received from the NMPA was disappointing. In a letter from
NMPA’s General Counsel, we were told that the talks
we were seeking would be “inappropriate” and would “prove
fruitless
”. Because we believe there is still much
to be gained from an open dialogue with publishers,
we are reaching out to each of you directly seeking
immediate discussion
between our communities.

It is a matter of public record that some music
publishers
have announced they are considering
withdrawing rights and repertoire from ASCAP and
BMI
, and licensing those rights directly to users.
These statements assume that publishers possess the
legal authority to make such a unilateral withdrawal

of works and rights on behalf of music creators and their
families, without exception. We
disagree.

While our organisations support the exploration of all
opportunities that might increase royalty rates for music
creators and publishers, we feel strongly that the
songwriters, composers and others we represent maintain their
right to decide who collects and administers performing
rights royalties on their behalf.
Further, we feel
that any direct performance licenses negotiated by publishers
require complete transparency concerning
both the full terms of any direct licensing arrangement, and
complete information necessary to determine the royalties
each music creator is owed.

Again, we are reaching out to discuss
how we can work together for our mutual benefit. As an
interim step, however, to preserve the rights of the
songwriters, composers and heirs that we represent,
this letter shall serve as formal notification on
their behalf that each reserves the right to oppose any
claims relating to alleged publisher authority to
unilaterally withdraw rights and repertoire from the
PROs
, unless such reservations are specifically
waived in writing by an individual creator. In no event
should silence by any music creator represented by the
members of this alliance be construed as acquiescence or
waiver.

Signed,

Rick Carnes, Songwriters Guild of America
(SGA)

International Council of Music Creators
(CIAM)

Music Creators North America (MCNA)
European Composers and Songwriter Alliance
(ECSA)

Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL)
Songwriter’s Association of Canada (SAC)
Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)
Latin American Composers and Authors Alliance
(PACSA)

Société Professionelle des Auteurs et des Compositeurs
du Québec (SPACQ)

Pan-African Composers and Songwriter Alliance
(PACSA)

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