Verizon Wireless and AT&T do not need performance licenses for ringtones they sell to customers, a judge has ruled. Noting the companies already pay licensing fees to download the 30-second snippets, the judge said the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers cannot demand additional royalties for times the ringtones go off at a public place. "Verizon does not 'recite, render, play, dance or act [the ringtone] either directly or by means of any device' and thus does not 'perform' the music," the judge wrote.
No Added Royalties for Use of Ringtones in Public Places, Federal Judge Rules
New York Law Journal
October 16, 2009