Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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No Cost of Living Increase in Webcasting Royalties for 2017

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
A year ago, when the Copyright Royalty Board adopted the rates for webcasters (including broadcasters who simulcast their programming by online streaming) to pay for the sound recording performance royalty (see our summary here and here), one difference from previous decisions is that there was a single per-song, per-listener royalty adopted. In the past decisions,… Continue Reading

Copyright Office New Electronic Registration for Designated Agents for Take Down Notices Goes Live – and The Office Asks for More Comments on Assessing The Section 512 Safe Harbor for User-Generated Content

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
The Copyright Office’s new system for registering designated agents for the service of take-down notices when it is believed that user-generated content infringes on intellectual property rights has now gone live. The Copyright Office issued a reminder, here, that all new registrations of agents for the service of these take-down notices must now be submitted… Continue Reading

Upcoming Seminar on Digital and Social Media Legal Issues for Broadcasters – and Thoughts About Profiting From Trademarks

Posted in Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Trademark, Website Issues
Tomorrow afternoon eastern time, I will be conducting a webinar for at least 20 state broadcast associations on legal issues for broadcasters in their social and digital media efforts.  We’ll talk about many of the potential legal landmines that can be hidden in these new media efforts, many of which we have written about here… 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

Reminder: Free Webinar Next Week on Trademark Law – Protect Your Slogans and Brands

Posted in Advertising Issues, Appearances, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations, Trademark
The protection of brands, slogans, positioning statements and program titles must be a high priority of any electronic media company. These assets establish the identity of any broadcaster, webcaster or other media company.  Media companies need to protect these assets through the rights accorded by trademark law.  We have been running a series of articles on… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Announces Rules for New Electronic Filing System for Service Provider’s Designated Agents for Take-Down Notices Under Section 512 Safe Harbor for User-Generated Content

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Website Issues
Section 512 of the Copyright Act provides a safe harbor for Internet service providers whose systems are used to transmit content created by third parties which infringes on copyrights.  The provisions apply not only to common-carrier like services that merely transmit third-party content, but also to websites and other digital services that allow users to… 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

Trademark Basics, Halloween Special: Tips and Tales From the Trademark Crypt

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trademark
Over the last few weeks, we’ve offered insights about how you can stay out of legal hot water by establishing good practices with regard to your company’s trademark portfolio (see Part 5 of our Trade Basics series here, which contains links at the end to the other parts of the series). Unfortunately, not all companies have… Continue Reading

More Lawsuits for Unauthorized Use of Photos – Even on Social Media Sites

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Website Issues
In recent weeks, we have continued to see copyright lawsuits against broadcasters filed by photographers who allege that their photos have been used without permission.  This spate of lawsuits has not been confined to filings against broadcast companies – even the Donald Trump campaign has reportedly been sued recently for his son’s tweet of a… Continue Reading

Trademark Basics, Part Five: Trademarks on the Internet

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, On Line Media, Television, Trademark, Website Issues
Once you have identified your marks and sought protection through registration for some or all of them, there are still going to be other issues that you will need to consider. Trademark owners have an obligation to police their marks and take steps to stop infringers. Otherwise, they may run the risk that someone else… Continue Reading

Summaries of the Legal Issues Facing Radio and TV Broadcasters – Staying on Top of Your Regulatory Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, Appearances, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Drones, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, License Renewal, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Political Broadcasting, Television
Each quarter, my partner David O’Connor and I update a list of the legal and regulatory issues facing TV broadcasters. That list of issues is published by TVNewsCheck and is available on their website, here. This update was published today, and provides a summary of the status of legal and regulatory issues ranging from the… 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

Trademark Basics Part 4: Trademark Housekeeping 101 – Conducting a Trademark Audit

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trademark
Last week, we discussed the benefits of federally registering your trademarks.  But having a few federal registrations under your belt doesn’t mean your task of building a valuable trademark portfolio is complete.  There are several additional steps you can take to make sure you are managing your trademarks wisely and getting the most value from… Continue Reading

Trademark Basics, Part Three: Nine Benefits of Federally Registering Your Trademarks (and How to Register)

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trademark
In last week’s Part Two of our series on Trademark Basics, we discussed the benefits of conducting a clearance search to try to ensure that the mark you are considering adopting doesn’t infringe on the rights of anyone else. Say the results of your clearance search have come back clean and, according to your trusted… Continue Reading

How Do Bars and Restaurants Get Rights to Play Radio, TV, Audio and Video on Their Premises?

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Television
Bars and Restaurants, to make their businesses more attractive to customers, often feature music or video, often broadcast radio or TV.  We wrote about the issues for businesses that play the radio on their premises here.  This week, Landslide, the magazine of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Division, published an article that I wrote… Continue Reading

Trademark Basics, Part Two:  How Trademark Searches Can Keep You Out Of Legal Hot Water

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trademark
In last week’s article beginning this series on Trademark Basics, we gave an overview of trademark basics and discussed why building up a strong trademark portfolio should be an important part of any media company’s overall business strategy.  This week, we will discuss why identifying marks that you may use must be a key feature… Continue Reading

Legal Issues for Digital Audio Companies – A Presentation

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Trademark, Website Issues
This week, I was given 15 minutes at the RAIN (Radio and Internet Newsletter) Summit in Nashville to summarize all of the legal issues that are important to digital audio companies including webcasters and podcasters.  While getting everything into a presentation that short entailed some speed talking and the briefest description of many very complicated… Continue Reading

Trademark Basics for Media Companies, Part One: What Trademarks Are and Why They Matter

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trademark
In today’s digital economy, trademarks are often the most valuable assets that a business owns.  For example, in 2015, Google’s trademark portfolio was estimated to be worth $76 billion, which constituted almost one third of the entire value of the company.  Microsoft clocked in at $67 billion, with Verizon close behind at almost $60 billion. … Continue Reading

BMI Judge Rejects DOJ Conclusion that Consent Decree Requires 100% of Songs – What Does that Mean for Music Services?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
On Friday, the US District Court judge who oversees the administration of the BMI Consent Decree rejected the recent Department of Justice interpretation that the antitrust consent decree required that, when BMI licensed music to music users, that license would embody the full musical work, not just a fractional interest that might be held by… Continue Reading

Pandora and Amazon Negotiating Agreements with Record Labels – Why They Don’t Just Rely on the CRB Rates?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The press has been full of reports over the last few weeks about Pandora and Amazon negotiating deals with record labels over music royalties, and some observers have expressed confusion – why don’t these services just rely on the rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board at the end of last year? The answer, as… Continue Reading

September FCC Meeting To Be a Big One for Media Companies – Set Top Boxes, Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations and Promotion of Independent Programming

Posted in Cable Carriage, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television
September 29 will be a big day for broadcasters and other media companies when the FCC holds its next open meeting. In the tentative agenda for that meeting released on Thursday, the FCC identified several issues that deal with the media including two big items on video issues – the decision as to what to… 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

Congressional Proposal for Copyright Small Claims Court – What Does It Suggest?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
In the last few weeks, we’ve seen almost daily press reports of new lawsuits against media companies being sued for the use of photos on their websites without permission of the photographers. We’ve written many times about copyright issues that can arise if media companies put content on their website without getting permission of the… Continue Reading

Stephen Colbert Brews Up a Parody on Aggressive Protection of Olympic Trademarks

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
A few weeks ago, we wrote here about the risks of using in advertising and promotions the Olympic trademarks, symbols or marks that may suggest an association with the Olympic Games.  The Olympic Committee recently demonstrated just how serious it is about its marks, sending a letter to non-Olympic sponsor companies, warning them  that they… Continue Reading