WMG Might Initiate a Pilot Program with Universities
Recent rumors have suggested that Warner Music Group is in negotiation with several universities to initiate a pilot program for blanket licensing of their music. Now, with the post of a PowerPoint presentation to blog Techdirt, this rumor is sparking a lot more interest.
The PowerPoint, authored by Mark Luker of nonprofit technology advocate Educause on behalf of Warner Music Group, is directed towards Columbia, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Washington, MIT, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, Cornell, Penn State, University of California at Berkeley and University of Virginia. In the presentation, Luker notes that the blanket license program will allow students to “access and use music any way they want to” while “generat[ing] fair returns to content owners.” In addition, the program will prevent these universities from receiving RIAA threats. At the end of the presentation, Luker credits Jim Griffin, an executive and consultant at Warner Music Group, as his source of information.
When asked for a comment, Griffin responded that, while Warner is working on solutions for compensating artists, “This presentation belongs to someone outside our company and represents that individual’s interpretation of issues discussed at meetings held several months ago.”
Despite this, sources have noted that Jim Griffin registered the web domain Choruss.com in August. Choruss is also the name of the independent, nonprofit organization rumored to be in charge of collecting the licensing fees from universities participating in this program and then distributing these fees to copyright holders. In addition, industry sources note that out of the four major labels, Universal is the sole holdout on accepting the Choruss proposal.