The Dept. of Justice Said to Be Considering a Baffling New Rule Change for Song Licensing

Billboard Biz:

According to numerous sources, the DoJ has sent a letter to the two performance rights societies governed by the consent decree, telling them that on “split works” songs — songs written by multiple writers — any writer or rights holder can issue a license for 100 percent of the song. In other words, the long-established industry practice of each rights owner greenlighting their particular portion of a song in order to establish a license — also known as fractional licensing — may no longer be allowed.

The DoJ has, somehow, become convinced that it is common practice in the music industry for any rights holder to license an entire song, not just the share they own.

I can’t see this going through as it only takes some simple explaining to realize the tumult it would create, but its consideration illustrates the growing political influence of tech — the Pandoras, etc — versus that of the PROs in our present climate.

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