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August 17, 2017

King & Spalding Scores Groundbreaking Arbitration Win on Behalf of Radio Music License Committee


SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 17, 2017 — In a recent arbitration on behalf of the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC), King & Spalding won a significant reduction in the fees that more than 7,000 radio stations pay to performance rights organization SESAC.

As a result of the arbitration panel’s decision, RMLC stations will receive a more-than-60 percent reduction below SESAC’s standard rate card, which designates what stations must pay to play music by SESAC-represented songwriters and music publishers. The RMLC is a nonprofit, commercial radio industry trade group. The arbitration, which determines industry-wide rates and terms for access to the music of 30,000-some songwriters for the 2016-2018 period, is the first of its kind against previously unregulated SESAC.

The arbitration was the result of longstanding antitrust litigation brought by the RMLC against SESAC in 2012. The matter was settled in 2015 on the basis that SESAC would agree to have its license fees determined by binding rate adjudication for the next 20 years. The initial arbitration concluded in May of this year.

The King & Spalding team was led by partners Kenneth Steinthal and Joseph Wetzel, and included associates Kristine Hanson, Katherine Merk, and Ivana Dukanovic, as well as paralegal Tina Johnson, all based in the firm’s San Francisco office. Blake Cunningham from the firm’s Austin office was also part of the arbitration team. This team also worked with the RMLC’s executive committee late last year to broker terms with ASCAP, another performing rights organization, for a new five-year license agreement. The team represents RMLC in ongoing negotiations with BMI, another performing rights organization.

About King & Spalding
Celebrating more than 130 years of service, King & Spalding is an international law firm that represents a broad array of clients, including half of the Fortune Global 100, with 1,000 lawyers in 20 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm has handled matters in over 160 countries on six continents and is consistently recognized for the results it obtains, uncompromising commitment to quality, and dedication to understanding the business and culture of its clients. More information is available at www.kslaw.com.