SESAC Settlement Checks On the Way to TV Licensees

Posted on March 31st, 2015 by

Full-power TV licensees, watch your mailboxes for a letter from the TV Music Licensing Committee. TVMLC has reached a settlement in their anti-trust class action suit against SESAC and expect checks to licensees to begin rolling out soon. Only full-power television stations that obtained a performance license from SESAC at any time after January 1, 2008 are eligible to receive payments, which could amount to more than $200 per station. To get the payment, eligible licensees must complete a form titled, “Settlement Antitrust Class Action Settlement Refund Payments” and send it back to the TVMLC within the allotted time. The form will be included in the letter to be sent to eligible licensees soon.

This windfall came about starting almost six years ago, when the TV Music Licensing Committee filed a class action law suit against SESAC on behalf of television broadcasters. The suit alleged that SESAC violated federal antitrust law by overcharging TV licensees for royalties from 2008-2014. The parties reached a settlement that includes $58.5 million to be distributed to full-power television licensees who obtained a performance license from SESAC any time after January 1, 2008.

Going forward under the settlement, rates for 2014 and 2015 do not change but licensees will again be able to choose a “per performance” license if they do not play a lot of music. And, TVMLC will negotiate with SESAC in the future on behalf of television licensees for the 2016-2020 license period.