Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back in July I wrote about a case where ASCAP is suing Verizon, claiming that musical ringtones on cellphones are a "public performance" and Verizon should pay performance fees; this depite - no, in addition to - the fact that Verizon already pays fees to ASCAP for selling these ringtones.

On Wednesday the judge ruled in the case and, wise public servant that she is, entirely agreed with me. Although the words were measured, the upshot was that ASCAP's case was ridiculous and was a misreading of both law and fact in virtually every aspect. A ringing phone is not a "public performance" by either the customer or the provider, signalling the phone to ring is not the same thing as playing a recording, and no amount of wishful thinking allows ASCAP's lawyers to redefine legal standards and the physics of wireless communications to their convenience. They still get paid for ringtone sales, but they don't get to doublecharge by pretending Verizon is both a music store and a radio station.

1 comment:

James Hanley said...

Hmm, justice prevailed? In a court of law? In the U.S.? Oh, happy day.