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ASCAP sues AT&T seeking royalties on ringtones heard in public


Jul 4, 2009, 3:03 PM
From 'the other guys'
http://www.phonearena.com/htmls/ASCAP-sues-AT-T-seek ... »

ASCAP, the group that collects royalties for singers, songwriters and performers, has filed suit against AT&T claiming that the carrier should pay a royalty each time a ringtone, composed or performed by one of its' 350,000 members, is heard in public. The group says that a ringtone is a public performance.

Not so fast says the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF claims that a ringtone heard in a restaurant "without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage," is exempt from copyright law. The EFF goes on to complain that a court ruling in favor of ASCAP could raise consum

Jul 4, 2009, 3:06 PM
is asscap? Paranoid

Jul 6, 2009, 5:31 PM
I have mixed feelings. If the royalties are paid to the artist, and not the companies, I'm all for it, simply because the artists are robbed by the record companies so much already. If it goes to the company and the artist, lame sauce all the way.

In a way, we have kind of created this situation by piracy, which was created by high costs of CDs, which in the end, was caused by the companies stealing from artists. If only there was a realistic way to bypass the companies... But sadly, they have the money to push artists much further, and that's where it gets us. :-(

Jul 7, 2009, 8:59 AM
Ringtones (that are purchased legally through a carrier) already have royalties paid on them. These royalties are so the customer can download the song.. apparently they need a seperate royalty to use it as a ringtone? That makes no sense.

That's like buying a CD, but that you have to pay every time you play it just because someone might be stalking you and listening through the window.

Jul 7, 2009, 4:10 PM
AT&T SCREWS PEOPLE OVER ON RINGTONES AND I WORK FOR THEM! I've gotten no royalty checks for a song that is on one of the main pages of their site for download... MYSPACE FREAK! At&t give me my money!

Jul 8, 2009, 10:41 AM
Ah, I just use music off my memory card for ringtones, screw paying, what $2.99 for a frinkin ringtone! ! !

Jul 13, 2009, 6:21 PM
To Solve this who mess people should just buy music from itunes. Therefore you pay for the song and you own it. Than have the song converted over to a ringtone. Simple as that. I already now what you people going to say well most phones aren't compatible. But if you were able to get onto this site create an account, and than be able to post a comment. Than I think you have enough common since to go to a website where you can find a music converter. Therefore being able to use the songs you buy on itunes on any handset. Wink

Aug 27, 2009, 2:24 PM
Correction you do not own the song. You own a licence to keep a digital copy of the music. Moving it to CD or converting the format would oblige you to repay a mechanical royalty for changing the format of the copies medium.
Moving to the handset would be an additional copy (wich you did not license seperately) and you still have the issue they are arguing wich is public performance when the ringtone is played in public. All you acomplished with complicating the issue further.

Jul 14, 2009, 4:56 PM
when i worked at tmob i used to just take out the sim cards from the demo phones and download the ringtownes lol, good times, i had every good song possible for free!!

Jul 16, 2009, 3:15 PM
Used to do that when I worked for an ATT 3rd party

Aug 26, 2009, 10:57 PM
this is crap in my opinion. people downloading a song and letting it play in public only promotes the artists music. getting the word out causes more people to download the music or buy the album, it's free advertising for the music indusrty. they're making us pay for it. they should be giving out ringtones for free to promote new music. there is no reason to make the consumer pay for that walking bilboard we disply when that phone goes off in public. i don't mind paying for the songs i want a the rate they are now, but if this causes them to go up there is no way i'm gonna pay for ringtones, especially when i only get 20 seconds of it. get me an eye patch I'm coming aboard the pirate ship.

Jul 14, 2009, 6:02 PM
After 20 years in Broadcasting and the music industry, the money paid goes to the artist. The song is their property as well as the writer/composer. They should get paid for their work.

But granted a 20 sec clip of a ring tone is a bit much.

Jul 14, 2009, 6:42 PM
They do get paid, when the song is downloaded royalties are paid. asking companies to pay again if the ringtone is used is a bit much.

Jul 23, 2009, 5:27 PM
Actually there is no logical way to enforce this. There is no way for the carrier to tell when the ringtone has gone off, or if it went to vibrate. I might have recorded my own voice for all they know. That I don't have to pay royalties for. I still own that. (at least today, but Im sure not for long if ASCAP has anything to say about it)

The royalty for the ringtone further includes the use of the ringtone, and even takes into account mechanical royalties for the possibility of it being transfered to different types of media.

I have no commercial value to my ringtone going off in public. It doesn't make me cool, or even special for that matter. Any idot with $2 can go get the same one.

Furthermore At&t already has fulfil...

Aug 26, 2009, 8:12 AM
So if I record myself singing a song and use it as a ringtone, do I have to pay the song writer?

Aug 26, 2009, 5:48 PM
You are supposed to ..

Just like when a bar decides that it is going to have bands play in their establishment. If they are a band that does any performances of covers, They are required to pay BMI and ASCAP fees to cover the song writer royalties on your performance.

Jul 23, 2009, 7:02 PM
They are already paid a royalty when it is sold to the consumer.

They are sueing to get paid AGAIN as in a broadcast royalty.

This is the same as the dude on the corner playing his iPod with external speakers. Is ASCAP going to sue apple next because iPods have the ability to be heard in public?


Aug 28, 2009, 7:00 PM
Is this for real? Suing a company that already pays royalties for people using the ringtones in public? I mean, I get the whole starving artist thing but that's crazy. Don't get me wrong, I think its equally ret@rded that the same companies that are getting sued charge 2.99 for for 15 - 20 seconds of a song that you can pay .99 for the whole song. (WTF?! I know it's just free market and if people wanna pay that much, go ahead and here's your sign. But that's a different argument)

The problem with suing for more royalties is that ultimately it's not AT&T that's gonna pay for the fees. It's the end user... AKA me and you. AT&T (and other's in the industry) will just pass the buck. It happens in every business in every industry everyday.

Aug 28, 2009, 7:03 PM
chapster said:
AKA me and you.

Sep 22, 2009, 4:59 PM
This is way too crazy. If this goes through then AT&T may not offer legitamate ring tones, which will just make things worse. I have no promblem paying $2.99 for my ringtone because I hear it so many times everyday. But come on ASCP, don't be ridiculus.

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