In February, a federal court in California dealt new performing rights organization (PRO) Global Music Rights (GMR) a significant defeat in the antitrust lawsuit brought by the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC).
The court ruled that on the facts RMLC described in its Complaint, GMR is a per se illegal enterprise and also violates the U.S. antitrust laws in numerous other respects. The order represents a wholesale rejection of the defenses GMR has asserted in the litigation and paves the way for RMLC to win a final victory by demonstrating only what the world knows to be true: that GMR orchestrated an exodus by artists from other PROs specifically in order to raise the price of pre-existing music licenses.
RMLC’s Executive Director Bill Velez said in statement: “We were pleased but not surprised by the court’s important ruling. GMR is worse than the other PROs. Its only purpose is to charge more for what could previously be bought for less. The court rightly recognized that there is no excuse for that conduct under the antitrust laws. Litigation is no one’s first choice. But we are gratified that the court denied every single argument GMR made on the merits of its case and left RMLC with a clear path to reaching a final verdict in our favor.”
Despite the ongoing litigation, there is no authority to play the GMR music catalog other than through an interim license. The memo below advises stations that if they have not heard from GMR by 3/15, that they should reach out directly to set up the interim license extension.