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American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ( ASCAP ) is a [not-for-profit] [performance rights organization] that protects its members' musical [copyright] s by monitoring public performances of their [music] , whether via a [broadcast] or [live performance] , and compensating them accordingly.

ASCAP collects [licensing] fees from users of music created by ASCAP members, then distributes them back to its members as [royalties] . In effect, the arrangement is the product of a compromise: when a song is played, the user does not have to pay the copyright holder directly, nor does the music creator have to bill a radio station for use of a song.

In 2008, ASCAP collected over US$933 million in licensing fees and distributed US$817 million in royalties to its members, with an 11.3% [operating expense] ratio. In the United States, ASCAP competes with two other performing rights organizations: [Broadcast Music Incorporated] (BMI) and the [Society of European Stage Authors and Composers] (SESAC).

ASCAP was founded by composer [Victor Herbert] in [New York City] on February 13, 1914, to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members, who were mostly writers and [publishers] associated with New York’s [Tin Pan Alley] . ASCAP’s earliest members included the era’s most active songwriters – [Irving Berlin] , [Otto Harbach] , [James Weldon Johnson] , [Jerome Kern] and [John Philip Sousa] . Subsequently, many other prominent songwriters became members. As of July 2009, ASCAP membership includes over 360,000 songwriters, composers and music [publishers] .

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