The legal battle between Global Music Rights (GMR) and the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) has taken another interesting turn, as a federal judge has allowed each of their antitrust lawsuits to proceed.
GMR had been attempting to dismiss the RMLC’s antitrust lawsuit, which alleges that the performers’ rights group formed a monopoly on songs and used the advantageous position to inflate licensing costs. In his decision, U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. avoided insinuating that RMLC’s claims were sure to be proven true in court, but indicated that their foundation was sufficient to ward off a dismissal.
Similarly, Judge Hatcher Jr. ruled that GMC’s antitrust lawsuit against the RMLC could proceed. The RMLC had been trying to dismiss the case, which essentially asserts that its stations collude with one another to leverage negotiating power and drive down the cost of song licenses. As with the RMLC antitrust suit, the judge made clear that his allowing the matter to be heard in court was not an endorsement of the truthfulness of the alleged misconduct claims.
However, Judge Hatcher Jr. dismissed the portion of the RMLC’s lawsuit that sought damages from GMR. The 78-year-old stated that a trade group comprised of various companies in a business sphere cannot band together and sue competing entities for financial compensation, especially when it, like the RMLC, is a non-profit organization.
Last year, the Department of Justice weighed in on the lawsuits by supporting the position of GMR, chiefly by saying that the RMLC’s collective boycotting may violate existing antitrust laws.
GMR was founded in 2013 as a higher-tiered performance rights organization, and a number of high-profile artists, including Bruno Mars, Bruce Springsteen, Childish Gambino, Drake, and Travis Scott, have signed with the group. The RMLC is based out of Nashville and advocates “the interests of the commercial radio industry on music licensing matters.”
Late last month, the RMLC settled a long-running lawsuit with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Thus, it’s not impossible that GMR and the RMLC will eventually put their differences aside and establish a typical professional relationship—even if the possibility seems remote at the moment.