Hymnal Giant Accused Of Pushing Rivals Out Of Pews
  • Hymnal Giant Accused Of Pushing Rivals Out Of Pews

    By Nadia Dreid

    Law360 (August 28, 2019, 9:05 PM EDT) -- Nearly 70% of the country’s Catholics are singing out of hymnals made by the same company — one that has been using its monopoly on must-have worship songs to weed out the competition, according to a new antitrust lawsuit.

    Oregon Catholic Press has been wielding its impressive catalog of Catholic liturgical songs as a weapon to exact exorbitant licensing fees from smaller publishers that it views as a threat to its empire, International Liturgy Publications said Tuesday in the suit it filed in an Indiana federal court.

    “Because OCP controlled the titles that had become essential to the viability of [ILP’s] music publications, [ILP] had no choice than to pay the higher fees,” the smaller publisher said.
    Catholic parishes often look for traditional fare in their hymnals, and without certain well-known and loved songs in the publishing company’s repertoire — some of which are in public use but many of which are not — they will be passed over more often than not, ILP said.

    And the “burdensome licensing and contractual conditions” imposed by OCP is making it hard for publishers like ILP to get access to the songs they need for their hymnals to sell, the smaller publisher said in the suit.
    ILP says OCP asked it to pay a 10% publisher fee on top of the 10% standard licensing royalty, and that its use of the copyrighted material was also given a five-year time limit, contrary to the industry practice of licensing musical titles for the life of the publication.

    Another clause in the licensing contract also required ILP to keep the extra fee a secret, according to the suit.
    The smaller publisher says it was the target of these higher fees because it was viewed as a threat to OCP’s business, and that the head of the OCP had already divulged that it was concerned by ILP’s competition.

    But the suit also claims that OCP has taken other steps to solidify its monopoly through market allocation.
    The publisher managed to “substantially [eliminate] any meaningful competition” by hatching a deal with its next three biggest competitors to divide up submarkets so as to not step on each other’s toes, according to the suit.
    Under these alleged agreements, the suit says one company would focus on hardcover hymnals, another on weekly church bulletins and advertising, and a third on “softcover seasonal newsprint missalettes,” which walk churchgoers through what needs to be said and read during mass at a particular service.

    These deals, which date back to 1993, are still in place today, ILP said.

    Catholic consumers are being hurt by the larger publisher’s anti-competitive behavior, because they’ve been forced to pay inflated prices for access to hymnals and worship music, the suit said.
    “[U]nless enjoined and restrained by this court, the defendant will continue to engage in collusive and anti-competitive conduct,” ILP said.

    Representatives for International Liturgy Publications and Oregon Catholic Press did not immediately return a request for comment.

    ILP is represented by Donald J. Schmid of The Law Offices of Donald J. Schmid.
    Counsel information for Oregon Catholic Press was not immediately available.

    The suit is Lamb Publications LLC et al. v. Oregon Catholic Press, case number 3:19-cv-00686, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.

    --Editing by Gemma Horowitz.


    Click here for the court document.</>
  • afries52afries52
    Posts: 15
    Good. These companies have to fall one way or another!
    Thanked by 2BGP cesarfranck
  • MarkB
    Posts: 262
    The most surprising thing to me about this is that OCP considers ILP a threat.

    Yet another surprise when I tried to learn more about this is that ILP is also suing OCP for alleged copyright infringement:

    https://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2019/09/24/ilp-v-ocp/

    https://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2019/09/24/ilp-is-suing-ocp/

    But I agree with commentators who don't see sufficient similarities between the two songs.
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    My solution to OCP is don't buy their stuff. I have 20-year-old GIA hymnals, use only the traditional hymns, and use as much public domain music as possible - thank you, IMSLP. A plague on most all of the publishing houses.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,540
    @CharlesW and of course CPDL, and the wonderful people on here like @CCooze that produce new editions or arrangements when asked.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 456
    My solution to OCP is don't buy their stuff. I have 20-year-old GIA hymnals, use only the traditional hymns, and use as much public domain music as possible - thank you, IMSLP. A plague on most all of the publishing houses.


    True, but I imagine OCP got this empire because they made an easy button and most parishes are willing to push it. "Catholic consumers are being hurt by the larger publisher’s anti-competitive behavior..." sums it up nicely...liturgy is commodified. And as one would expect, McLiturgy has that bland, samey, mass-produced taste.
  • I did get a kick out of the implication that OCP owns "traditional fare" that is necessary in today's world. I don't see them owning the copyright to Holy God, We Praise Thy Name or anything of quality.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 270
    For most Catholics, "Eagle's Wings" and "Be Not Afraid" are what they mean when they talk about "traditional Catholic music."
  • MarkB
    Posts: 262
    Here is OCP's idea of traditional fare for "The King of Love My Shepherd Is":

    https://youtu.be/SNYm-UiPVCk?t=244

  • Carol
    Posts: 480
    I happen to like the "King of Love My Shepherd Is" to the tune St. Columba. My congregation sings it well. This Youtube performer is not leading a congregation, I hope. I wouldn't hold it against the hymn. Of course, I know I really don't espouse the views held by most on this forum. I still enjoy reading and learning from those here and I definitely have no love lost for OCP. Our organist, who is quite experienced and well versed in OF liturgy, had never played "O Lord I am Not Worthy" until recently but that's what I would call "traditional Catholic music."
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 140
    Funny, I was on OCP's website today and the website was toting its "non-profit" status.
    I do think ILP is making its way into the market with its hardcover missals and the accompanying psalm books. I worked with ILP last year when our pastor requested moving from missalettes to hard cover. They were just starting to get out there and become more mainstream (missal-wise at least) and I have fielded questions from a couple of local parishes re our purchase. ILP was super responsive with my requests to have SATB psalm collection to match the melodies they use in the missal we purchased. I think they are really out to become the underdog and another big name in catholic publishing. Even Vince Ambrosetti called me personally to close the deal. I have to say- the missals are being used and people really like them. I love them for my planning purposes, too. I cannot speak to their hymnals. I do not have enough experience with them.
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 140
    Re the copyright- *sigh* It is similar in form, i guess, but not close enough. I am familiar with and use both songs and it never struck me they are similar.

    I have said, "Hmmm" to a couple of psalms in the ILP song book in regards to similarities I have heard in other psalms, but I figured it was a little easier to imitate accidentally when you're working with 4-6 measures.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 810
    Could you or anyone else comment on the Lectionary Psalter offered bu ILP?

    I haven't seen it, but the few online videos offered indicate a pop style. I know of a parish looking to move away from Respond and Acclaim. I suggested Lumen Christi, but I don't think they are ready for all chant. It seems either the Guimont Psalter (GIA) or perhaps the ILP Psalter may be the next best option/step. It would at least be an improvement in terms of not having to by the same disposable book year after year, but I hate to invest in something "permanent" that won't wear well over time.

    Any other Psalters to consider?
  • toddevoss
    Posts: 104
    Earl Grey - This one is free by Richard Rice. If you want a hard copies you would go to a Kinko's or Staples and print and spiral bind. Based on what I have read, his Psalms are highly regarded on these discussion forums.
    http://www.lulu.com/shop/richard-rice/responsorial-psalms-january-2018/ebook/product-23981616.html
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 140
    Earl Grey- Give Thanks to the Lord is the newest psalter they put together. It is more "traditional" in musical styling. We have begun to use it more and more along with psalms from the Chabanel website.
    Thanked by 1Earl_Grey
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,337
    Does anyone have a copy of ILP's court filing that they can post here on the Forum? I know that Noel gave the link above. But I'd rather not give my personal info to the Law360 website.

    The Law360 summary that Noel posted is quite confusing and evidences much misinformation. I wonder if ILP itself wrote that summary.

    One thing I know about publishers of copyrighted works: they are under no obligation to allow other publishers to publish those same works. So I wonder what ILP's beef is.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • Wow—after posting that PDF, I read through it. That was something else! There's a lot of fluff in the filing, of course, but it sounds like their biggest gripe is that there are 7 dioceses that were working with them on custom hymnals and OCP imposed a "no more than 10 of our holdings per hymnal" limit.

    One of the examples of how OCP has hurt ILP is that they took the titles of ILP's most popular holdings and wrote new songs with the same titles—with the specific examples being "At the name of Jesus," "Ave Maria," and "Emmanual." I don't have anything charitable to say about that complaint, so I'll just leave that here for you to ponder.

    Crazy stuff here...
  • MarkB
    Posts: 262
    Instead of complaining about the competition, ILP should offer better music as competing product. There's not a single ILP composition or product I would use.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,337
    Thank you, Marc C., -- and MarkB.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 373
    Saruman turns against Sauron.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,898
    Instead of complaining about the competition, ILP should offer better music as competing product.

    A fair opinion, but also: if OCP engaged in the practices described, provoking allegations of deception or restraint of trade, they would do well instead to offer better hymnals as competing products.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,297
    The error right from the start is in catering to the NO consumer. Ditch the effort.

    As long as there is compromise with a liturgical novelty, the options will spin out ad nauseum. As someone else said, this is like rearranging the book shelves in the library on the Titanic.

    Ad Nauseum... The term is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as an argument made repeatedly "until nobody cares to discuss it any more".[3] (wiki)
  • MarkB
    Posts: 262
    Although I'm not sympathetic to OCP regarding their music, I am sympathetic to them regarding business practices.

    Why should OCP give favorable terms to ILP for including OCP songs in custom ILP hymnals for dioceses? OCP knows darn well that for every diocese that adopts a custom diocesan hymnal, that's 30-70 or more parishes that will not be in the market for Breaking Bread for the next 20 years, possibly forever. Why should OCP assist ILP in undercutting them?

    I don't think the 10-OCP-song maximum for custom ILP hymnals is an unfair condition. It's wise business.

    I'm with OCP on this from a business standpoint. ILP can't compete musically, so it's trying to pull the rug out from OCP by using OCP's music against them in custom ILP hymnals that will reduce OCP's market share. Why would OCP agree to that?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    I agree - at the same time wishing a plague on both their houses - LOL.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,745
    OCP monopolizing!! Here's my *shocked* face.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 262
    Update on this story:

    Law360 (October 23, 2019, 9:01 PM EDT) -- A Catholic music publisher accused of cornering the hymnal game through anti-competitive means told an Indiana federal court that the antitrust suit lodged against it is just a desperate attempt to force the company into licensing its expansive song catalog to a smaller rival.

    Oregon Catholic Press called the suit nothing more than the “latest salvo in a decade-long campaign to gain unfettered access” to the publisher’s catalog of must-have worship songs, which it says it has no obligation to license if it doesn’t want to.

    “Now plaintiffs effectively assert that OCP should be compelled to license plaintiffs any and all music within the OCP catalog because OCP’s music is popular with Catholic congregations and plaintiffs would be more successful if they could include any OCP music they want in plaintiffs’ publications,” the publisher said in its Tuesday filing.

    For the Catholic publishing giant, the question comes down to whether it can be compelled to license its song catalog out to rivals, or be forced to change its terms because the songs are so essential to the liturgical press business that companies can’t operate without them.

    But without a list of which songs are essential to doing business and assuming that Catholic congregations’ preference in hymns shifts over the years, OCP told the court that the smaller press is basically seeking “a court order to allow them to pick and choose songs for compulsory licensing from OCP’s catalog at any time, now or in the future.”

    International Liturgy Publications filed the suit in August accusing the larger publisher of establishing a liturgical empire that has resulted in 70% of the country’s Catholics singing out its hymnals. The suit claims the larger publisher used its monopoly on popular worship songs as a weapon to weed out the competition.

    To get their hands on these songs, the smaller press says OCP forces licensees to concede to “burdensome licensing and contractual conditions” that eat into profit margins. The allegedly anti-competitive terms also hurt consumers, the suit claims, because smaller publishers are forced to pass inflated prices on to consumers.

    Representatives for the parties did not immediately return a request for comment.

    ILP is represented by Donald J. Schmid of The Law Offices of Donald J. Schmid.

    Oregon Catholic Press is represented by Alice J. Springer of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Randolph C. Foster, Jeremy D. Sacks and Rachel C. Lee of Stoel Rives LLP.

    The suit is Lamb Publications LLC et al. v. Oregon Catholic Press, case number 3:19-cv-00686, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Catholic Press.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,297
    Leave OCP alone. Also do not touch, license, sing, print or perform anything in their cat.
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 296
    ILP is represented by Donald J. Schmid of The Law Offices of Donald J. Schmid.

    Oregon Catholic Press is represented by Alice J. Springer of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Randolph C. Foster, Jeremy D. Sacks and Rachel C. Lee of Stoel Rives LLP.

    Maybe it's much ado about nothing as I'm not a lawyer, but to me there's something to be said that OCP can have four lawyers from two different firms working for them while ILP can only have one.
  • I'm not a lawyer, either, but we voted with our $$$. This week is the finale for OCP in our pews. I doubt, however, that OCP will have any concern over losing our small yearly order of 750 copies of Breaking Bread.

    By the way, we estimate that the switch to a non-OCP hardcover hymnal will save the parish nearly $60,000 over their lifetime. (And it was covered 100% + by parishioner donations).
  • CGM
    Posts: 454
    ILP does have at least one nice thing in its catalog:
    the Mass of St. Cecilia [take a listen!],
    by Richard K. Fitzgerald.
    We use it at our parish (unison/congregation with organ), and it has worn well.
    Thanked by 2mattebery CHGiffen
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 810
    I cannot think of one OCP song that I must have in my repertoire.
  • I cannot think of one OCP song that I must have in my repertoire.


    The "YooHoo" song (On Eagle's Wings) seems to be mandatory for all funerals here. I am in favor of black-listing it, but the pastor prefers to fight other battles at the moment.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,613

    The "YooHoo" song (On Eagle's Wings) seems to be mandatory for all funerals here. I am in favor of black-listing it, but the pastor prefers to fight other battles at the moment.


    Unless anything has changed in the past few years, OCP will grant free printing for any “one time only” event - a funeral is considered such an event. One could have a Hymnal in the pews (like the amazing Lumen Christi Hymnal) that doesn’t have Eagles Wings, and if it is required of you at a funeral, you can print a one page worship aid and be done with it for (nearly) free.

    Hymnals that put things like OEW in their books because of funerals are perpetuating its use forever when the funeral excuse does not hold for the above reason.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,581

    But without a list of which songs are essential


    ...
  • I've helped move multiple churches in the past from OCP, and am about to move yet another in 2021. Doing my part where I can :)

    The lawsuit won't change anything, whichever way it comes out. On-the-ground leadership and education from pastors will.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,507
    And bishops, are they not "the chief liturgist of the diocese"?
  • Heath
    Posts: 832
    Mass of St. Francis by Laura Lea Duckworth is another great Mass setting in their catalog.
    Thanked by 1mattebery
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,137
    I hope ILP is successful for tooooo long OCP has been taking advantage of their tax-exempt status to profit from their 'wares'.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    I don't buy anything from OCP and have no plans to start.