Music publisher Sony/ATV is still hopeful that it will be allowed to partially withdraw its rights from US collecting societies ASCAP and BMI in order to strike direct deals with digital music services like Pandora. It’s appealing recent rate court rulings demanding that publishers must either withdraw all their rights or keep them all in with both societies. “Because the DOJ and legal process is not fully within our control, we may have no alternative but to take all of our rights out of ASCAP and BMI,” Sony/ATV boss Martin Bandier wrote in a letter to the publisher’s songwriters late last week. “We recognise that full withdrawal is a significant step and we are carefully looking at all of the issues associated with this, including speaking with potential partners to assist us.” There may be bigger headaches ahead for Sony/ATV and its fellow publishers though: as part of its review of the rate court rulings, the US Department of Justice is reportedly examining a claim made by Pandora that Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing Group, ASCAP and BMI have been coordinating their efforts to change the laws governing withdrawals from the societies.

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