MADISON, TN -- Kathryn Rose "Katie" Wilkinson, who had managed the Jukebox License Office since 2006, died on April 25 at her home here. She was 57.
Based in Nashville, the JLO administers the Jukebox License Agreement on behalf of the performing rights organizations ASCAP, SESAC and BMI. The agreement enables jukebox operators to pay a blanket fee to cover public performance of copyrighted music protected by the PROs.
During Wilkinson's tenure, the number of CD and vinyl jukeboxes had declined significantly, as digital downloading formats, not covered by the JLA, had replaced many of them. However, the JLO manager remained a committed liaison between the PROs and members of the Amusement and Music Operators Association, who own and operate a majority of the nation's jukeboxes.
"Katie was employed by the PROs, but she was a strong advocate and friend of AMOA and operators," said AMOA executive vice-president Jack Kelleher. "While she was determined to do her job and collect CD box fees and promote licensing compliance, I often saw Katie go to bat for operators when there were issues to be resolved. Over the years, our offices worked closely together and we became friends, professionally and personally. I respected her work and admired her spirit."
AMOA and JLO have worked closely since the early 1990s, following United States' entry in 1989 into the Berne Convention, an international copyright treaty. Before 1978, jukeboxes were generally not licensed by PROs or the federal government. However, a revision in copyright law that year included a compulsory license from the U.S. Copyright Office for publicly performed nondramatic musical works by means of a "coin-operated phonorecord player." So operators were forced to pay fees to the USCO that were structured on a flat per-box rate. The Berne Convention eliminated compulsory licensing by providing negotiated licenses for the payment of royalties. As a result, the three PROs and AMOA negotiated the Jukebox Licensing Agreement. The agreement, which has been renegotiated several times, most recently in 2007, gives operators full access to songs in ASCAP, BMI and SESAC's repertories.
Katie Wilkinson is survived by four children, Elizabeth Gibbons, Christina Gibbons, Mary Wilkinson and Robert Gibbons Jr.; her mother, Louise Linstrom; sisters Mary Taylor, Suzy Bingham and Amy Lynch; and brothers Peter, Tom, Michael and EJ Linstrom.