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GMR Sues Three Radio Groups Over Music Royalties

- Seeks $150,000 Per Copyrighted Work Infringed

Global Music Rights, the newest performance rights organization (PRO) on the American music scene, has filed lawsuits against three independent Radio groups in California, Florida and North Carolina for allegedly airing music from their catalog without paying the proper licensing fees.

The suits seek $150,000 per copyrighted work that GMR claims was infringed and serve as a cautionary foghorn to any broadcaster who thinks they can dodge their responsibilities under U.S. copyright law.

GMR’s complaints center on music by longtime and relatively novel performers alike who are no longer represented by the other rights organizations, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

GMR Songwriter/Song Catalog

Attorney David Oxenford with the Wilkinson Barker Knauer law firm, a TAB Associate Member, notes that GMR is seeking statutory damages which can be collected even without providing evidence of actual harm caused by the alleged copyright infringement.

Courts do have discretion to order far lower statutory damages than those being sought in these cases.

Once a protracted legal battle between the Radio Music License Committee and GMR concluded earlier this year, GMR announced that it was giving stations until March 31 to sign the agreement struck by both organizations.

Stations that failed to sign the agreement would no longer have legal permission to play any of the music in which the songwriters GMR represents have an interest.

“These lawsuits seem to indicate that GMR has lost patience with stations that have not entered into agreements to play their music (or eliminated that music from their stations),” Oxenford says.

“Any commercial stations that have not entered into an agreement with GMR or otherwise taken action to avoid the need for that license should discuss this issue with their attorneys now to see what actions they can take to avoid potential liability later.”

Different System for Noncommercial Stations

Noncommercial broadcast stations work under a different music royalty system than commercial broadcasters.

The Copyright Royalty Board governs the setting of rates for public performance rights in their case.

That process, which includes all four PROs, is ongoing for the 2023-2027 term, with final rates expected soon.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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