Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights Settles Copyright Lawsuit With Vermont Radio Station Group

Global Music Rights (GMR), the boutique U.S. performance rights organization (PRO) that represents Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Prince, Drake, Pharrell Williams, the John Lennon estate, the Eagles and others, has settled its copyright infringement lawsuit against the Vermont Broadcast Association (VBA) that was filed in January.

According to Global Music Rights, which was founded by Irving Azoff and longtime PRO executive Randy Grimmett in 2013, the organization and VBA reached an agreement that includes a long-term GMR license as well as a settlement of past alleged infringements.

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In January, GMR filed a suit in a Vermont federal court alleging that VBA’s seven radio stations — which serve local communities in Northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec — had been playing 66 songs from the GMR catalog without a license since 2017. GMR further claimed in its filing that the station had racked up about 1,600 violations of copyright law, even though the PRO had submitted 10 separate written licenses during that time period. “Defendants’ infringements were neither incidental nor accidental,” the group’s lawyers wrote in the complaint. 

Following the settlement agreement, GMR’s general counsel, Emil Zizza, said in a statement, “We are dedicated to protecting the rights of GMR songwriters and composers, and ensuring entities publicly performing their works are appropriately licensed. Through this lawsuit, we have accomplished those endeavors, and look forward to our go-forward licensing relationship with VBA.”

In an e-mail, VBA owner Bruce James confirmed the settlement agreement but didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.