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Music-Licensing Modifications OKd

September 06, 2000|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) agreed Tuesday to modernize a 59-year-old court order to bring the licensing of music for performances into the Internet Age.

The original court order, entered in 1941 and amended several times, requires ASCAP to provide performance licenses to music users upon request and to distribute fees from those licenses to its members.

Based in New York, ASCAP grants licenses and collects fees for the use of music written or published by its members. ASCAP licenses about half of all musical performances in the United States.

The government and ASCAP agreed on four modifications. They would:

* Expand and clarify ASCAP's obligation to offer certain types of music users, including background music providers and Internet companies, a genuine alternative to a blanket license.

* Eliminate many detailed restrictions on ASCAP's relations with its members.

* Ensure that ASCAP members can switch to another performing rights organization with penalty.

* Streamline license fee determination proceedings.

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