A federal magistrate has recommended that a lawsuit filed by the Radio Music License Committee against Global Music Rights be dismissed, concluding it was improperly filed in the state of Pennsylvania. It's a significant win for the the Irving Azoff controlled performing right licensor in his battle with broadcast radio.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynne Sitarski of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejected every one of the Radio Music License Committee's arguments for filing an antitrust suit against Global Rights Management in Pennsylvania – a state where neither organization has offices or employees, where no represented songwriters or publishers live, and where no relevant meetings or business have ever taken place.
“There is no basis in fact or law to assert personal jurisdiction over GMR in Pennsylvania and therefore, venue in this judicial district is improper,” Magistrate Judge Sitarski wrote to Judge C. Darnell Jones II, concluding that the RMLC suit was filed in Pennsylvania solely for tactical advantage.
Global Music Rights is a new private performance rights organization (PRO) founded by Irving Azoff and representing the rights of some songs by The Beatles, Bruno Mars, Jay-Z and about 75 other superstar clients. As a private company, unfettered by the consent decrees that restrict BMI and ASCAP, Azoff is working to get a higher royalty rate for GMR's clients.
“The Magistrate’s recommendation is a vindication of what we have said all along: the RMLC had no business filing a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, a state that has nothing to do with this dispute,” said Global Music Rights Founder Irving Azoff. “We look forward to Judge Jones’ review of the order and continuing our efforts to protect the rights of songwriters to be paid fairly by the $18 billion commercial radio industry.”
Magistrate Judge Sitarski recognized that Global Music Rights’ home state is California, where the company has filed its own antitrust suit alleging that the RMLC’s 10,000 member stations are conspiring to suppress payments to Global Music Rights’ songwriters.