DMX Beats BMI In Performance Rights Battle

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DMX the rapper is going back to jail.

But DMX the B2B background radio provider is having better luck with the law.  The company has just prevailed over BMI in its long-running performance rights battle, and potentially established a major precedent for “alternative licensing structures” to the blanket performance payment.

In the immediate term, the decision means that DMX can pay lower and variable performance licenses to BMI, based on direct licensing arrangements with certain publishers.  Essentially, federal district judge Louis Stanton of the Southern District of New York allowed DMX to pay an “adjustable blanket license” based on these direct payments.

That structure works against the umbrella licensing approach of BMI, and empowers DMX to continue striking direct publishing deals using its own technologies.  “DMX believes that securing licenses directly from music publishers presents an opportunity for the publishers – and the writers they represent – to receive greater royalties through DMX’s increased use of their musical compositions,” DMX general counsel Christopher Harrison offered in a statement.  “In addition, DMX’s royalty reporting is completely transparent, allowing publishers to see exactly how many times each one of their songs was performed on DMX’s service and the resulting royalty payments.”

Sounds like a serious dig on the reporting infrastructure of BMI, though more battles undoubtedly remain.  “We strongly disagree with the court’s decision in the DMX case, which ignores the long history of Performance Right Organization (PRO) licensing agreements in the background music industry,” BMI offered Digital Music News. “We are examining the decision in depth and evaluating the basis for an appeal.”