ASCAP Attempts to Block Local Cable Settlement Hearing Board, Composers Request Ombudsmen Conduct Investigation

Film Music Institute > Film Music Magazine (Archives) > Industry News (Archive) > ASCAP Attempts to Block Local Cable Settlement Hearing Board, Composers Request Ombudsmen Conduct Investigation

LOS ANGELES (Film Music Magazine) — U.S. performing rights organization ASCAP has attempted to block a group of over 50 ASCAP composer members from initiating a hearing before the ASCAP Board of Review regarding how ASCAP and its Board of Directors calculated and distributed a recent $30.6 million settlement from Local Cable Television operators. The composers have appealed to ASCAP’s ombudsmen, Seth Hufstedler and Hon. Harold Tyler, Jr.
In a letter to protesting composers dated September 11, 2002, ASCAP attorney Carol Witschel claimed that the protesting composers have no right to initiate a hearing on the matter, stating that, “…the Board of Directors’ decision was well-founded. ASCAP understands that you would have decided differently, respects your right to disagree with the decision, and appreciates your loyalty to ASCAP and that of the other members on whose behalf the Protest was submitted. But, the Board of Review, as the courts and we have explained, does not have the power to overturn the Board of Directors’ decision.”
The protesting composers took issue with many aspects of the local cable television settlement, including the alleged lack of distribution data ASCAP had to work with in calculating the distribution, questions regarding the substantial portion of the television distribution that was paid to radio writers and publishers (which totaled 30% of the entire sum allocated to specific performances for the distribution), who the experts were that ASCAP says they used to design the distribution plan, what projections were done by ASCAP to calculate the impact on composers for the distribution plan, whether the “spot adjustment factor” which removed more than $8 million from the royalties otherwise payable to composers and publishers whose music was performed on local cable was appropriate, and other issues.
The protesting composers have appealed to attorney Seth Hufstedler and Judge Harold Tyler who function as paid ombudsmen for ASCAP and assist members with resolving royalty distribution issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *