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US: DOJ probing Sony, Universal for music licensing collusion

 |  July 16, 2014

The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into alleged price manipulation and coordination of music licensing agreements, according to anonymous sources.

Reports say the music publishing units of Sony, Universal Music, and the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers are all part of the DOJ’s investigation. The ASCAP collects licensing fees on behalf of music publishers and songwriters.

The DOJ was reported to have launched a market inquiry earlier this year into music licensing practices as the industry shifts towards Internet music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. Music streaming rights have been the subject of regulatory scrutiny as rights owners fight Pandora Media over licensing fees; similarly, YouTube has been involved in conflict with independent music labels over licensing agreements. YouTube has threatened to remove music from indie labels from its video streaming site unless the parties can agree on licensing terms.

The DOJ announced last June that it was looking into highly outdated music licensing agreements with the ASCAP and Broadcast Music that regulate songwriter royalties, according to reports.

Full content: Bloomberg

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