NEW YORK — Home Box Office and the music syndicate BMI agreed to extend their licensing agreement for one month, averting a court order that could have temporarily barred HBO from broadcasting films that included BMI-licensed songs.
Lawyers for the two companies announced the agreement Tuesday at a hearing in a lawsuit BMI brought against HBO last week.
In the lawsuit, BMI asked a U.S. District Court judge to bar HBO from transmitting BMI songs after Dec. 31, when the companies' licensing agreement ended. It noted that several films in HBO's January schedule include BMI-licensed songs.
Robert Sisk, an attorney for BMI, said the companies agreed to extend the licensing agreement during negotiations Friday, the day after the lawsuit was filed. Sisk said negotiations would continue on a new licensing contract that would extend past the end of January.
Judge Pierre Leval scheduled the next court hearing in the case for Jan. 29.
The suit was filed amid efforts by BMI to boost its cable television levies. Beyond raising basic rates, BMI wants to collect from local cable systems as well as from cable programmers such as HBO.