In the last week, we have received many inquiries from radio stations that received a notice from attorneys for Global Music Rights (GMR) about document production in GMR’s litigation with the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC). As we have written before (see, for instance, our articles here, here and here), RMLC and GMR have for several years been engaged in antitrust litigation. RMLC is seeking to impose outside review on the rates that GMR can charge broadcasters for the public performance of the music written by the songwriters that they represent, while GMR argues that RMLC itself violates the antitrust laws by unifying competing broadcasters and preventing them from doing business with GMR.
The recent communications from GMR concern GMR’s obligation to produce documents to the RMLC’s attorneys in discovery in this litigation. Because RMLC has not been directly involved in GMR’s dealings with radio stations over the interim license agreements (and because RMLC itself does not have copies of the interim licenses that stations entered into with GMR), RMLC’s lawyers asked GMR for the production of these licenses as part of their discovery. Because the interim licenses contain some confidentiality language, GMR’s recent communications was to let stations know that they are planning to produce those licenses to the RMLC’s attorneys, subject to the Protective Orders that GMR attached to their messages. These Protective Orders are designed to keep the information in those licenses out of the public record, to be reviewed only by a limited group of people including RMLC’s attorneys and expert witnesses. The GMR communications are asking broadcasters if they have objections to the production of these licenses to RMLC’s lawyers.
In deciding whether to express concerns about GMR providing those documents to RMLC’s attorneys, stations should consult their own counsel. GMR’s notices provide the names of their counsel who station management, or their attorneys, can contact if they have concerns about the production – which GMR asks be done by December 9. These notices are just one more indication that this litigation is continuing. As we noted before, it may well go on for several more years. This litigation is important to the broadcast industry so watch for further developments in this case.