2nd Circ. Strikes Down DOJ Ban On 'Fractional' Licensing

By Bill Donahue (December 19, 2017, 3:27 PM EST) -- The Second Circuit on Tuesday shot down a U.S. Department of Justice rule barring music licensing groups BMI and ASCAP from so-called fractional licensing, saying the agency must formally modify long-standing antitrust settlements if it wants to ban the practice.

A three-judge panel said the practice — allowing radio stations, bars and others to use a song even if ASCAP or BMI only control a portion of the rights — is not prohibited under the decades-old consent decrees that regulate the two huge groups, which control the rights to roughly 90 percent of music.

Only formal changes to the decrees or...

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