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Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Broadcast Performance Royalty

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September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Reg Fees, Nationwide EAS Test, Must-Carry Letters, Lowest Unit Rate, Translator and Repack Deadlines and GMR License Extension

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Political Broadcasting, Television
Summer is coming to an end, but the legal obligations never take a vacation, and September brings another list of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. While the month is one of those without the usual list of EEO Public File obligations or quarterly FCC filing obligations, there still are a number of other regulatory deadlines for… Continue Reading

Looking at Music Royalty Issues for Radio and TV Broadcasters

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Last week, I participated in a discussion about music royalties for broadcasters at the Texas Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention in Austin. Speaking on the panel with me were the heads of the Radio Music License Committee and the TV Music Licensing Committee. These are the organizations that represent most commercial broadcasters in their negotiations… Continue Reading

GMR Offers Commercial Radio 6 Month Extension of Interim License to Play Their Songs

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Global Music Rights, commonly known as GMR, is the newest Performing Rights Organization (PRO) in the US music business, licensing public performance rights to musical compositions of songwriters as diverse as various members of the Eagles to Pharrell Williams to George Gershwin. As we wrote here, in December, they offered a temporary license to the… Continue Reading

SESAC Royalties for Commercial Radio Slashed By More Than Half – Both SESAC and RMLC Claim Victory in Arbitration

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
It was announced this week that SESAC’s royalties for radio for the period starting at the beginning of 2016 through the end of 2018 have been slashed – being reduced to less than half what they were in 2015.  This decision came out of an arbitration process that resulted from the settlement of an antitrust… Continue Reading

CLASSICS Act Introduced to Provide Pre-1972 Sound Recording Public Performance Clarity – What Issues Does It Leave Unresolved?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The CLASSICS (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society) Act was introduced in Congress last week to try to clear up some of the ongoing disputes over the public performance rights of pre-1972 sound recordings. Through litigation, certain copyright holders (including, most notably, Flo and Eddie of the 1960’s band… Continue Reading

New Congressional Attempts to Impose a Performance Royalty for Sound Recordings on Broadcast Radio, Including the PROMOTE Act – What Do They Provide?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
In the last month, there have been two bills introduced in the US House of Representatives seeking to impose a performance royalty for sound recordings on broadcast radio stations in the US. The bill introduced yesterday, The PROMOTE Act (standing for the Performance Royalty Owners of Music Opportunity to Earn Act – whatever that may… Continue Reading

Bill Proposes to Make the Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointee

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Copyright Office is now a part of the Library of Congress, with the Register of Copyrights (the head of the Copyright Office) appointed by the Librarian of Congress. As part of its plans to review the Copyright Act, the House Judiciary Committee asked for comments earlier this year about structural reform of the Copyright… Continue Reading

New Wrinkle in Pre-1972 Sound Recording Cases – Georgia Supreme Court Holds that iHeart Streaming Does Not Violate State Criminal Statute

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The Georgia Supreme Court this week issued a decision holding that the streaming of pre-1972 sound recordings by iHeart Media does not violate the state’s criminal statutes against the “transfer” of recorded sounds without the permission of the owner of the master recording. While many trade press articles have lumped this decision in with the… Continue Reading

More on Flo & Eddie: Federal Court Certifies to California State Court Question of Whether There is a Public Performance Right in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The music battle continues over the question of whether state laws provide a public performance right in pre-1972 sound recordings. While, as we wrote here and here, the highest court in New York has determined that there is no such right in that state ending the litigation there, cases continue in other states, notably California… Continue Reading

SoundExchange Issues Audit Notices for Many Different Digital Music Services

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Each year, we write about SoundExchange issuing notices of their intent to audit various digital music services to review their royalty reporting and payment.  This year is no different, with Federal Register notices recently being issued to audit certain companies in various services, including satellite radio, webcasters, broadcasters who stream, and business establishment services.  We… Continue Reading

Background on the GMR/RMLC Dispute – 5 Questions on the Basics of the Controversy

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Commercial radio broadcasters have been seeing numerous communications over the last week about Global Music Rights (GMR) and its seemingly contentious music royalty negotiations with the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC). Many stations are confused about this controversy and what it is all about. The 5 questions below, and the links at the end of… Continue Reading

Public Comments Requested on Qualifications for Copyright Office Chief

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
There is now a vacancy in the top position at the Copyright Office, the Register of Copyrights, and the Librarian of Congress, who appoints the Register, has asked for comments on the role and qualifications for the new Register. These comments are due by January 31, 2017. While setting copyright law has thus far been… Continue Reading

GMR and RMLC Agree to Interim License for Commercial Radio Stations – Providing 9 Months to Reach Final Deal for Public Performance of Musical Compositions

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
On Saturday, RMLC announced that it has reached an “interim” agreement with the new performing rights organization Global Music Rights (GMR) for a license to perform musical compositions controlled by GMR.  This agreement (available on the RMLC website here) is an interim agreement for radio stations that elect to participate, and covers only the first… Continue Reading

NY State’s Highest Court Finds that There is No Public Performance Right in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
The New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has ruled that there is no public performance right in pre-1972 sound recordings in the state of New York. The decision (available here in a version subject to revision) was reached after the US Court of Appeals certified the question to the state court… Continue Reading

RMLC Reaches Agreement with ASCAP on Royalties for Commercial Radio for Through 2021

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
ASCAP and the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement for the period 2017-2021, setting the performance royalties that commercial broadcasters will pay for the use of music written by composers who are represented by ASCAP. The press release issued yesterday discloses little about the details of the agreement.… Continue Reading

The Next Congress Has Not Yet Begun, and Already Copyright Issues are Poised for Comment – First Up, Copyright Office Reform

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
While the new Congress will not begin until after the New Year, already copyright reform has been teed up to be on the agenda.  Posted last week on the website of the House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee was an announcement that the committee would be posting policy proposals for copyright reform from time to time,… Continue Reading

GMR Sues RMLC – Claims Antitrust Violations for Negotiating Royalties on Behalf of the Radio Industry – What Are the Implications?

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) filing a lawsuit against Global Music Rights (GMR) alleging that GMR was violating the antitrust laws by offering an all or nothing blanket license for rights to play the songs written by certain songwriters now represented by this new performing rights… Continue Reading

RMLC Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against GMR And Seeks to Enjoin New Music License Fees on Radio Stations

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
RMLC, the organization that represents most commercial radio stations in the US in negotiating music license agreements for the public performance of musical compositions, has filed an antitrust lawsuit against GMR (Global Music Rights). GMR is a new performing rights organization (PRO), founded by music industry heavyweight Irving Azoff.  As we wrote here and here,… Continue Reading

NAB Announces Agreements with Sony and Warner to Waive Performance Complement and Other Statutory Requirements for Broadcasters Who Stream Their Signals

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The NAB has announced agreements with Sony and Warner Music Groups to waive certain of the statutory requirements for broadcasters who stream their over-the-air signals on the Internet.  The NAB had entered into similar agreements with all of the major labels and major independent labels back in 2009 (see our summary here).  But those agreements… Continue Reading

Update on the SESAC Royalty Arbitration Proceedings with the Radio and TV Industries

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
SESAC was, until recently, the only one of the three major performing rights organizations (PROs) that was not subject to an antitrust consent decree – meaning that it could set the rates that it wanted without any oversight by any court or other judicial body. For practical purposes, that ended when the radio and television… Continue Reading

What’s Up With Music Rights for Broadcasters and Webcasters? – A Presentation on Pending Issues

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
While this summer has perhaps not brought the big headlines in trade press about copyright issues involving broadcasters – particularly in the area of music rights – there still are many issues that are active. I addressed some of those issues in a presentation earlier this month at the Texas Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention. I… Continue Reading

US District Court Finds Digitally Remastered Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Are “Derivative Works” Covered By Federal Law – Dismisses Suit against Broadcaster Seeking Over-the-Air Performance Royalties

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The question of whether state laws about pre-1972 sound recordings could give copyright holders a claim against broadcasters for the over-the-air public performance of these recordings was answered in a novel manner in a decision rendered by a US District Court in California. The evidence before the Court showed that CBS, the broadcaster being sued,… Continue Reading

2016 is a Big Year for Radio and ASCAP, BMI and SESAC

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media
The “performing rights organizations” – ASCAP, BMI and SESAC – don’t get as much attention in these pages as do the royalties paid to SoundExchange for the use of “sound recordings.” The PROs collect for the public performance of the “musical work” or the musical composition – the words and music of a song. These… Continue Reading

Appeal of Public Performance Rights in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Referred to NY State Court for Interpretation – What Issues Might Radio Broadcasters Be Facing?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Pre-1972 sound recordings are back in the news. Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided to defer its consideration of an appeal of a District Court’s decision that NY law included a public performance right for pre-1972 sound recordings. The Court deferred its decision until it can get a definitive answer… Continue Reading