ASCAP President Paul Williams sent out a message to members about the DOJ’s 100% licensing proposal. Let’s just say he wasn’t happy about the decision. Read his letter below.
As a songwriter, words are my bread and butter. But I’ve spent the past week struggling to find the right words to express how disappointed I am by ASCAP’s recent meeting with the US Department of Justice regarding our consent decree.
I know many of you share my frustration with this process. Songwriters have been disadvantaged in the marketplace by a regulatory structure that was conceived in a very different era. We went to the DOJ seeking their help to update the consent decrees. Instead of making the necessary modifications, we have been saddled with a disruptive proposal that ignores songwriters’ concerns for our future livelihoods in a streaming world, serves absolutely no public interest and creates confusion and instability for all of us who depend on the efficiencies of collective licensing.
This, even after thousands of you provided comments to the DOJ on your perspectives as professional music creators. It is as if the DOJ saw songwriters struggling to stay afloat in a sea of outdated regulations and decided to hand us an anchor, in the form of 100% licensing, instead of a life preserver.
I am so grateful to those of you who generously and fearlessly gave of your time and participated in this process. I know you must feel like your voices were not heard. But I am telling you, it has made a difference.
This process and this fight are far from over. Rest assured, because so many of you were willing to take a stand on these issues, we have gained important allies in Washington who are committed to standing with songwriters.
ASCAP and BMI are continuing our discussions with the DOJ about our consent decrees. ASCAP is also working closely with BMI and the entire songwriting and publishing community as we evaluate all of our options and carefully consider the best path forward. We have a team of legal experts, effective advocates in DC, an incredibly strong management team under the direction of our CEO Beth Matthews, and, of course, the guidance of your dedicated elected writers and publishers on the ASCAP Board.
As we continue to work to modernize music licensing, we must remember what has sustained ASCAP and set us apart for more than 100 years. We are a non-for-profit collective of music creators – an organization owned and run by our members. Everything we do is in the best interests of our songwriter, composer and music publisher members. That has always been our strength and that will be our strength going forward.
Sticking together as music creators, ASCAP has managed seemingly insurmountable challenges in the past. And we’ve withstood them all, preserving our rights and our livelihoods while moving the industry forward in the process.
There is no doubt in my mind that when we look back on this chapter in our history, we will be able to say that we did it once again.
In the meantime, we are working closely with our allies in DC. I give you my word that we will keep you informed as the process moves forward. I know many of you are eager to know what you can do, and we will have more to share on that front very soon. We know we can count on you to stand with ASCAP and stand with songwriters.
Yours in solidarity,
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