Pandora Sues Music Catalog ASCAP Over Licensing Fees

By Cameron Scott 

music sharing, internet radioThe Internet music service Pandora filed suit yesterday against the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers yesterday, asking the court to establish reasonable licensing fees for the titles in ASCAP’s catalog.

Pandora has been negotiating with ASCAP for more than a year in an effort to establish licensing fees that are acceptable to both parties.

U.S. law requires copyright holders to license use of their intellectual property at reasonable rates.

ASCAP holds the rights to works by roughly 435,000 artists, according to the lawsuit. Pandora is the largest Internet radio station, with 150 million registered users in the United States who listen collectively for more than a billion hours a month, it said in court papers.

“ASCAP continues to seek rates higher than the current rates and above the agreement that they reached earlier this year with all of the major radio groups, which covers both broadcast and Internet radio usage for the majority of our competitors,” a Pandora spokesperson said.

ASCAP declined to comment.

The suit was filed in federal district court in the Southern District of New York. The same court approved in January 2012 ASCAP’s licensing deal with broadcasters the Oakland, Cal.-based Pandora sees as competitors.