Federal Judge Rules on Pandora/ASCAP Dispute Over Streaming Revenue
Internet radio company Pandora Media has been engaged in litigation with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”) over how much Pandora should be required to pay the society in exchange for Pandora’s right to stream copyrighted music online. A recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote declared that Pandora would be required to continue paying a rate of 1.85% of its revenue to the ASCAP through 2015 – the same rate Pandora has been paying for years.
ASCAP viewed Judge Cote’s ruling as a loss. It had lobbied for the court to declare that Pandora would be required to adhere to an escalating rate structure; namely that Pandora should have paid 2.5% of revenue in 2013, and eventually 3% by 2015. Still, Pandora’s victory wasn’t total. Pandora had initially asked the court to declare that it owed roughly 1.7% of its annual revenues to the organization, a request rejected by Judge Cote.