Pandora Can Play Disputed Songs Under Current License

Pandora Media Inc. can continue playing all songs under its license with Broadcast Music Inc. as the Internet radio service works out a new deal with the songwriters group, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton in Manhattan filed a handwritten note today clarifying an earlier ruling in which he said Pandora may not have access to songs that music publishers no longer want to be included under Broadcast Music’s Internet licenses.

“Nothing in the opinion impairs their validity,” Stanton said in the note about pre-existing licenses.

Stanton on Dec. 19 rejected Pandora’s request for a ruling that the scope of its license with the group shouldn’t be affected by publishers’ efforts to modify their contracts to no longer include Internet streaming. The decision came in a dispute in court between Pandora and Broadcast Music over the terms of a new license.

Songwriter rights groups including Broadcast Music and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers manage performance rights for composers and publishers. Some music publishers have sought to withdraw material from the groups’ licenses to web-based services and negotiate their own deals directly.

Will Valentine, a spokesman for Pandora in Oakland, California, declined to immediately comment on the judge’s note.

The case is Broadcast Music Inc. v. Pandora Media Inc., 13-cv-04037, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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