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Court of Appeals Sides With Songwriters, Publishers on Licensing

As the music industry headed into the holiday season, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals gave songwriters and music publishers a gift with its decision that the consent decree allows fractionalized licensing.

Fractionalized licensing means that in cases of songs written by multiple songwriters music users need to get a license from all of the songwriters, or their representatives. The U.S. Dept. of Justice had said that the industry had been misinterpreting the consent decree by doing fractionalized licensing and instead insisted that the agreement called for full-works licensing, which means that a music user only needed a license from one of the songwriters.
When the DOJ informed the industry of the full-works licensing requirement, BMI, Broadcast Music Inc,. sued the DOJ in the BMI rate court and Judge Louis Stanton ruled that the consent decree neither bars fractional licensing nor requires full-work licensing. But the DOJ appealed it to the Second Circuit in the Southern District of New York; and after hearing verbal arguments on Dec. 1, issued their ruling December 19th. 
Read more about it here.

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