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GMR Offers Commercial Radio Stations Year-Long License Extension

- RMLC Continues Legal Battle on Royalties Scheme

The Radio Music License Committee’s antitrust litigation against upstart performing rights organization Global Music Rights remains in court and GMR is now offering commercial Radio stations a one-year interim license extension beyond the current agreement which expires March 31. Radio stations that signed the current extension should expect to hear from GMR by March 15.

Stations that don’t hear from GMR by March 15 should contact GMR directly. The RMLC cannot assist.

Commercial Radio stations operating without an interim GMR music catalog license risk significant liability under copyright law – up to $150,000 per song in statutory damages.  GMR’s catalog includes songs by many popular artists of the past 30 years who have withdrawn from ASCAP and BMI.

Non-commercial stations aren’t subject to GMR licensing. Instead, their 2018-22 rates were set by the Copyright Royalty Board and GMR waited too long to be included in the rate-setting proceeding.

The protracted legal fight between RMLC and GMR centers on the question of whether the royalty rates set by GMR should be subject to antitrust review, as are rates by the other PROs. GMR has hit back, casting the RMLC as an illegal “buyers’ cartel.”

Music royalties legal expert David Oxenford suggests the decision to extend the interim license for a year, instead of just six months as previous extensions did, signals that GMR thinks that the litigation will drag out longer.

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