U.S. v. BMI, No. 16-3830 (2d Cir. Dec. 19, 2017).
The Second Circuit affirmed the District Court's judgment interpreting the consent decree between the Department of Justice and Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), in which the court ruled that the consent decree neither requires full-work licensing nor prohibits fractional licensing of BMI’s affiliates' compositions. The DOJ had concluded that the consent decrees require ASCAP and BMI to offer full-work licenses to the exclusion of fractional licenses, which led to the lower court's decision subject to the appeal.
The Second Circuit focused on the plain language of the consent decree. "This appeal begins and ends with the language of the consent decree."