Collins Statement on DOJ Consent Decrees Decision

Aug 4, 2016

WASHINGTON– Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the outcome of its review of the consent decrees that govern the country’s two largest Performing Rights Organizations (PROs), ASCAP and BMI. The preliminary proposal was explained to the PROs and other stakeholders a little over a month ago, and today’s announcement marks DOJ’s final decision. Congressman Collins, the Vice-Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet and a longtime advocate of American songwriters, issued the following statement on the decision:

“The proposal that was announced last month was unacceptable and an affront to the hardworking men and women of the music industry," said Collins. "At that time, DOJ assured Congress that the decision was still under review. However, today’s announcement by DOJ finalizes its ill-conceived proposal and ignores concerns expressed by stakeholders, the United States Copyright Office, and multiple members of Congress.”

“In fact, instead of instituting meaningful reforms to the outdated consent decrees, DOJ chose to broadly expand its interpretation of existing consent decrees at the expense of songwriters and the music industry as a whole. The decision undermines copyright law and effectively pulls already struggling songwriters off of life support.”

“Under the decision, the PROs must license one hundred percent of a jointly owned musical work, even if the organization does not represent all joint owners of a musical work. This decision will make it harder for artists to collaborate, belittle property rights, and severely affect contracts and negotiations. It is a departure from the common practice of fractional licensing and fundamentally changes the licensing of performance rights of jointly owned musical works. The decision won’t fix anything, but it will create new problems for the music industry.”

“The hardworking individuals who make up the music industry are trying to make an honest living, and the last thing they need is more government intervention and red tape suppressing their creative work. DOJ’s review may be concluded, but I will continue to fight for the rights of the creators who bring music to life.”