As the new year begins, the music could stop playing for personal radio service Pandora. Well, some of it. A legal ruling in the US suggests that music publishers CAN withdraw their digital rights from Pandora by pulling out of collecting society BMI, forcing the streaming service to remove the songs or face potential copyright infringement action. There’s still plenty of debate around the ruling though, given that it contradicts a previous ruling earlier this year suggesting that withdrawing from rival society ASCAP wouldn’t change publishers’ status under Pandora’s blanket licence. “When BMI no longer is authorized by music publisher copyright holders to license their compositions to Pandora and new media services, those compositions are no longer eligible for inclusion in BMI’s repertory,” ruled Judge Louis L. Stanton this week. “BMI can no longer license them to Pandora or any other applicant.” Billboard notes that publishers must now decide whether to follow through on their threat, complete with the knock-on implications of having to handle the other kinds of licensing that BMI does for them.

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