Are Songwriters double dipping? By Steve Gordon

May 2007

Internet, music publishing

Should songwriters get paid for a public performance when you download a song? Well US publishing bodies ASCAP and BMI have brought a case in New York asking for this right

But a summary Judgement by Federal Judge William Connor has left ASCAP reeling after he ruled that the act of downloading a music file does not constitute a public performance of a song, stressing that “a person must be able to perceive the song as it is being transmitted” for it to be considered a performance. Digital music services AOL, RealNetworks and Yahoo! won the summary judgment after objecting to proposals put forward by ASCAP to include a performance fee for downloads. As a result of the judgment the services are not required to pay royalties for downloads to the performing rights organisation. The case goes forward to trial on 21st May.

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