GMR settles two radio firm lawsuits, but ploughs on with third

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By | Published on Tuesday 24 January 2023

Global Music Rights

US collecting society Global Music Rights has settled two of the lawsuits it filed against American radio companies last year, though a third continues to go through the motions.

GMR – the boutique song rights society founded by veteran artist manager Irving Azoff in 2013 – settled its wider dispute with the US radio industry nearly a year ago, reaching a deal with the Radio Music License Committee which represents the radio sector in music licensing negotiations.

However, not all radio firms subsequently signed up for a GMR licence, resulting in the filing of lawsuits in October against One Putt Broadcasting in California, Southern Stone Communications in Florida, and Red Wolf Broadcasting, which operates stations in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The litigation against One Putt and Red Wolf has now been settled. Terms of those settlements have not been made public, but GMR says both radio firms have now signed long-term agreements to license the songs repped by the society.

Meanwhile, in the legal battle with Southern Stone, GMR has made a new legal filing in response to efforts by the radio firm to get the lawsuit dismissed.

According to Inside Radio, Southern Stone urged the courts to dismiss the GMR litigation last month, arguing that the society has failed to provide any specifics about which of its stations played which GMR controlled songs on which dates. Key information about the copyright ownership status of the allegedly infringed works was also lacking, the broadcaster claimed.

“Plaintiff’s complaint is a shotgun pleading that makes it impossible to determine whether a copyright infringement action has actually occurred”, legal reps for Southern Stone wrote.

But those claims are “unfounded” and mere “distraction and obfuscation”, GMR counters in a new legal filing. “GMR contacted defendants and offered them a licence at least ten times”, the society says. “Defendants uniformly declined GMR’s offers, choosing to persist in rampant and wilful copyright infringement”.

“Since defendants repeatedly refused to pay for a licence to perform works written by GMR’s affiliated songwriters, GMR had no choice but to bring this action for copyright infringement”, it goes on.

So, in that particular case both sides remain forthright in their statements to the court. It remains to be seen if a settlement can nevertheless be agreed.


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