Songwriting Group Sues Department of Justice Over Licensing Mandate

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Songwriters of North America, much like the PROs, are not happy with the Department's most recent licensing ruling.

The Songwriters of North America (SONA), a grassroots advocacy organization of 200 working songwriters and composers, along with three individually named songwriters, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over its music licensing statutes.

The suit is the result of the DoJ's recent decision to not amend the consent decrees, which dictate the processes for song licensing, telling the two largest U.S. performing rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, to allow for "full-work" licensing of songwriters' works, meaning a song with multiple songwriters can be licensed in full by any one of them.

"The decision will only make it harder for songwriters who are already being harmed by government overregulation in this space," Representative Doug Collins of Georgia says in a statement provided to Billboard. "Under current law, songwriters are being paid pennies on the dollar for their creative works, particularly when it comes to streaming. That's why I've introduced the Songwriter Equity Act to ensure that fair market value is taken into account when rates are set."

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