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IN RE PETITION OF PANDORA MEDIA, INC.: SDNY Allows Pandora to Maintain License to ASCAP's Repertory

By Barry Werbin

On September 17th,Judge Cote in the SDNY issued an interesting decision in favor of Pandora, holding that ASCAP cannot remove individual songs from Pandora's blanket license for streaming purposes without also removing them from its entire catalog, notwithstanding that some of ASCAP's licensors restricted certain songs from being licensed for "new media rights." ASCAP was held to be bound by its longstanding antitrust consent decree from doing that, and thus preferring one customer over another. The court distinguished the Copyright Act's divisibility of the bundle of exclusive copyright rights from the superseding restrictions imposed by the consent decree, which defines "works" as compositions not individual rights.


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