Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SDNY: MobiTV Victory Over ASCAP for Delivery of Video To Cellphones

In re Application of Mobitv, Inc., 2010 WL 1875706, 1 (S.D.N.Y. May 11, 2010)

It is hard to overstate the importance of music in most of our lives. Every concert we attend, every song we listen to, virtually every entertainment we enjoy reinforces that lesson. The task at hand is to determine the fair market value of a blanket license for the public performance of music. The challenges of that task include discerning a rate that will give composers an economic incentive to keep enriching our lives with music, that avoids compensating composers for contributions made by others either to the creative work or to the delivery of that work to the public, and that does not create distorting incentives in the marketplace that will improperly affect the choices made by composers, inventors, investors, consumers and other economic players.

Judge Cote has written a very thoughtful opinion explaining the history of blanket licenses for musical compositions and how they relate to new digital media.  The opinion really explains how the industry works, the economics involved, and is a nice explanation of the history of the technology involved.

Mobitv scored a big victory, which is a good thing for this fledgling technology.   The issue at hand was how much Mobitv had to pay ASCAP and the court's job was to set a reasonable rate.  Since Mobitv had demanded a license from ASCAP, no copyright infringement was found.

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