|Broadcast Music, Inc. v. CBS, Inc.|
|Argued January 15, 1979|
Decided April 17, 1979
|Full case name||Broadcast Music, Inc., et al. v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., et al.|
|Citations||441 U.S. 1 (more)|
|Prior||CBS, Inc. v. Am. Soc'y of Composers, Authors & Publishers, 562 F.2d 130, 195 U.S.P.Q. 209 (2d Cir. 1977); cert. granted, 439 U.S. 817 (1978).|
|The issuance by ASCAP and BMI of blanket licenses does not constitute price-fixing per se unlawful under the antitrust laws.|
|Majority||White, joined by Burger, Brennan, Stewart, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist|
The TV network CBS filed an antitrust suit against licensing agencies alleging that the system by which these agencies received fees for the issuance of blanket licenses to perform copyrighted musical compositions amounted to illegal price fixing.
The basic question in the case is "whether the issuance by ASCAP and BMI to CBS of blanket licenses to copyrighted musical compositions at fees negotiated by them is price fixing per se unlawful under the antitrust laws."
The Supreme Court held that blanket licenses issued by ASCAP and BMI did not necessarily constitute price fixing. The judgment, delivered by White J, was unanimous in holding that such practice should instead be examined under the rule of reason to determine if it is unlawful. Stevens J agreed with the majority, but would not have remanded the case to the lower courts for rehearing. He would have held that the blanket license were a breach of s1 of the Sherman Act using the rule of reason.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2013)
- US antitrust law
- Westmoreland v. CBS (S.D.N.Y. 1982)
- Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. v. CBS, Inc. (11th Cir. 1999)
- Text of Broadcast Music v. Columbia Broadcasting System, 441 U.S. 1 (1979) is available from: Justia Library of Congress Oyez (oral argument audio)
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