I get dozens of these a month. They are almost all deficient. In effect they purport to being legal “notices of intent” to license a composition, but they are not. And the services know this. They send them out anyway.
They appear fraudulent in two ways:
- Some are sent (knowingly) after the work is used thus the service does not qualify for a compulsory license. This is fraud because the unsophisticated songwriter will be fooled into thinking that they no longer have the valuable right to negotiate a direct license from the services. This is just as fraudulent as tricking pensioners into waiving rights to pension underpayments with an official looking letter.
- The remainder are simply backdated. In other words they purport to be a legitimate and timely NOI from say 2012 or 2014. They are not. How do I know? If they had my address back then, why haven’t I received my monthly accountings as required under the law? Why are they sending them only now? It looks like these are simply being manufactured.
Further virtually all of the services are engaged in this fraud. I have deficient NOIs from virtually all of the digital services. They appear to all be participating in this fraudulent activity. How do you suppose that happened? Just a coincidence?
Meanwhile the DOJ Antitrust Division Litigation Section III which has authority over the entertainment business has spent two years investigating the settled practice of “fractional licensing” by songwriters and found (lo and behold!) the previous 75 years of DOJ antitrust lawyers were wrong, and “fractional licensing” is anticompetitive. These guys are smarter than the last 75 years of DOJ lawyers combined! Now songwriters and PRO are burdened with the task of unwinding hundreds of thousands of co-writing agreements and new administrative burdens to account to co-writers.
Not to go too far down the rabbit hole, but you should know the end of fractional licensing benefits one company: Google/YouTube. See here. And the fractional licensing investigation was led by a former Google lawyer Renata Hesse. It’s like the 18 fucking 90s when it comes to antitrust enforcement in Washington DC, a period when antitrust laws were used by trusts to protect against competition.
Unfortunately the digital services led by Google/YouTube and Spotify are so tight with the current administration this administration will never investigate them. There will never be any justice for songwriters from the DOJ.
So it’s virtual torches and pitchfork time. Over the next couple weeks I will demonstrate how to use the new DOJ licensing rules against the services to bring the entire digital licensing system down. It’s really easy and it follows the DOJ orders to the letters of the law. What have we got to lose?
P.S. When I do get a check from these services they look like this. No accounting now statement no nothing? Is this a bait check? Like you cash it and then it’s an “implicit license?”