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BMI sues Pandora over song licenses

Songwriters’ rights organization says Internet radio company won’t pay higher fees

Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) has filed suit against Pandora, claiming the online radio company is refusing to pay higher licensing fees for songs.

BMI, a songwriters’ rights organization, said in the suit it filed yesterday that the fees it proposed to Pandora are "consistent with market rates to reflect the explosive growth of the Internet music streaming marketplace."

BMI represents more than 600,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, and works on their behalf to collect license fees for their music.

Pandora, founded in 2000, now has nearly 71 million listeners.  With the growing audience base comes an increase in licensing fees.

But earlier this week, Pandora purchased a radio station in South Dakota. The company said the purchase was a move to allow the Internet radio company to pay lower licensing fees, comparable to those of traditional broadcasters.

BMI said that its licensing fee agreements with other Internet radio companies, such as Spotify, are the same as or higher than the one it proposed to Pandora.

Read more about this story on Thomson Reuters.

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IP: Licensor or licensee, who bears the burden of proving infringement?

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Cathleen Flahardy

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