Wow. These kind of stories never cease to amaze me. ASCAP is trying to make a claim that a ringtone on your phone that could conceivably be heard in public could qualify as a public performance. If true, that would mean a royalty would be due according to ASCAP.
ASCAP isn’t foolish enough to go directly after consumers on this (well at least not yet), but instead is targeting carriers (you know the lineup.) This is different than the shenanigans that revolve around the licensing and purchase of a ringtone. The premise for going after the carriers is that there is a potential that someone might have a ringtone played in a public place. Amazing.