No sooner did we report an update on the dispute between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR), do we have another update to share. Only this time, the update: (1) is less wonky/more practical, (2) is good news for commercial radio stations, and (3) requires action by affected stations.
Radio stations – including Pennsylvania radio stations – that executed an interim license with GMR covering the period January 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017 are now being offered an additional six-month license. This additional license, which will run from October 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018, offers the same terms, at the same monthly price, as the original nine-month license. This should relieve some of the angst about what might happen in a little less than two months if the litigation is not concluded by the end of September (which is unlikely) or the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania does not grant the RMLC’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction to require GMR to offer stations interim licenses for the duration of the litigation (which was never guaranteed).
GMR now appears to have backed down from its earlier threat not to license Pennsylvania stations (which we believed was primarily a tactic to get the Pennsylvania judge to kick the lawsuit to California). According to this communication from the RMLC, the additional six month license will apply to all U.S. commercial radio stations who have an existing interim license, including those “owned by companies headquartered or based in Pennsylvania.” The RMLC release asks any otherwise-eligible Pennsylvania stations to contact the RMLC if they are not offered a license extension. According to GMR, “GMR has now sent an interim license extension offer to all RMLC members” via email and invites a station to contact GMR if the station does not receive such an offer. (You should also feel free to contact us or your own legal counsel if you have not heard from GMR.)
Stations must affirmatively act in order to activate this license extension. Specifically the station must:
- By September 30, 2017: Sign the license extension form you have received (or will receive) and return it to GMR (who has offered an online submission form to facilitate this process).
- By October 31, 2017: Make first payment under the license extension.