The Justice Department’s decision not to alter decades-old antitrust settlements regulating music licensing may only be a temporary reprieve for broadcasters, restaurants, and streaming services worried about higher costs for playing music.
Licensees say the Justice Department’s Jan. 15 decision continues protection of an efficient licensing model. But the department signaled it preferred ultimately to give music producers what they want: more market-based freedom to set rates.
The government’s apparent long-term goal of ending consent decrees would inevitably cause a “huge disruption” of the business, harming the arts and consumers, Jeffry H. Brown, a music copyright attorney with Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, said.
“No one is thrilled where things stand, but everyone knows how to operate in this environment,” Brown said. “Changes will disrupt the industry, and not necessarily for the better.”
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