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Discovery Networks axes controversial composer royalty changes


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Some good news for composers working for television in the US: Discovery Networks is pulling a u-turn on its controversial new royalties policy.

We reported on the latter in December: the broadcaster was asking composers to relinquish all performance royalties for US airings of shows using their music, and also sign away their ability to collect royalties on past shows from Discovery. At the time, there were suggestions that for some composers this could mean an 80%-90% drop in their income.

After loud protests, Discovery has abandoned the changes. “We have been informed today by Discovery Networks that in regard to performance rights, Discovery has decided that their US channels will remain operating as is under the traditional PRO performing rights model,” announced the US Production Music Association (PMA) last week. This means royalties will continue to be paid to and distributed by Ascap, BMI and Sesac in the US. Composers will be hoping any other broadcasters tempted to follow Discovery’s original lead will also now be put off.

Stuart Dredge

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