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American radio industry and Global Music Rights spar over subpoena in BMI case

By | Published on Tuesday 8 January 2019

Global Music Rights

Squabbling between the US radio industry and Irving Azoff’s boutique collecting society Global Music Rights continues. Though this squabbling relates to an entirely different squabble between the US radio industry and big collecting society BMI. Fun times.

The Radio Music License Committee, which represents a consortium of radio stations Stateside, has been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with GMR, the song rights collecting society Azoff set up in 2013 to represent the performing rights of a small roster of premiere league songwriters.

RMLC wants to force GMR into accepting third party mediation in royalty disputes between the two organisations. The other smaller US collecting society, that being SESAC, is subject to such mediation, instead of being regulated by a big fucking consent decree and the pesky rate courts, like BMI and the other bigger song rights society ASCAP.

Meanwhile, RMLC is also in legal dispute with the aforementioned BMI having gone to that pesky rate court after failing to reach an agreement on future royalty rates.

As part of that dispute, RMLC has subpoenaed GMR, requesting information it says is required to counter arguments being presented by BMI. But GMR argues that that subpoena is RMLC trying to get an “unwarranted sneak peak” at its files, so to aid its legal battle with Azoff’s society, which has been subject to a bunch of delays but is nonetheless ongoing.

Not so, counters RMLC. According to Law 360, the radio industry group stated in a recent legal filing that it “is merely pursuing important third-party discovery from GMR that is directly relevant to, and necessary for, RMLC to defend itself in the ongoing BMI litigation – an entirely separate case before a different judge in a different court, in which discovery is actively proceeding”.

“There is nothing suspicious or unusual, much less improper”, it goes on, “about RMLC seeking relevant and necessary third-party discovery in a litigation that is not stayed and is operating pursuant to a tight discovery schedule merely because RMLC would likely also seek some or all of that discovery in a different case [ie the GMR case]”.

RMLC were responding to efforts by GMR to have the subpoena in relation to the BMI case quashed. Squabble, squabble, squabble. Fun times.



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