In re Pandora Media, Inc.

6 F. Supp. 3d 317 (2014)

From our private database of 46,100+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

In re Pandora Media, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
6 F. Supp. 3d 317 (2014)


The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), which consolidates music licenses to administer licensing to third parties, operates subject to an antitrust-based consent decree issued in 1941. The controlling version of the consent decree is known as AFJ2. AFJ2 requires ASCAP to grant a performance license to any entity that requests a license. AFJ2 also prohibits price discrimination among similarly situated licensees. ASCAP members must agree to the terms of the consent decree, as implemented through the ASCAP Compendium. Although the ASCAP Compendium can be modified at any time, the compendium is still subject to the 1941 consent decree. In 2011 ASCAP amended the Compendium to allow members to withdraw ASCAP’s right to license the member’s works to new media entities while continuing to allow licensing to older entities. Pandora Media, Incorporated (Pandora) (plaintiff) is an internet-based radio service with licenses for between one and two million songs. Pandora creates customized radio stations for subscribers by allowing them to select a song as the basis for the station, and to further customize the station by allowing users to rate the songs played. Pandora is considered a new media entity under the terms of the ASCAP Compendium amendment. When certain ASCAP members began to withdraw new media rights from ASCAP, Pandora began negotiating direct licensing agreements. Negotiations with Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC (Sony) were problematic, and Sony demanded that Pandora pay a license fee equal to 12 percent of Pandora’s revenues. The industry average was four percent. Sony’s demand was based on the perceived unfair disparity between the amount to be paid for sound recording licenses, which amounted to 50 percent of revenue, and performance licenses. Pandora also applied in 2010 for a new ASCAP license for the years 2011 through 2015. However, ASCAP did not negotiate the license terms, and when Sony withdrew in September 2012, Pandora filed a rate court petition to determine a license rate. Under time constraints, Pandora agreed to pay Sony five percent of revenues, or an increase of 25 percent over the previous rate. In 2013, the district court held that AFJ2 prohibited ASCAP’s amendment to the Compendium because ASCAP’s members must allow for licensing to any music user requesting a license.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cote, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 748,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 748,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 46,100 briefs, keyed to 987 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 748,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 46,100 briefs - keyed to 987 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership