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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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The Summer of Copyright, Part 3 – The Copyright Office Requests Further Comments in its Inquiry on Music Royalties and Licensing

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
We’ve already written twice about the copyright issues being considered this summer before various agencies and branches of government – all dealing with music licensing issues (see our previous Summer of Copyright articles here and here).  The pattern continues, as the Copyright Office has now requested further comments on music licensing issues, following up on … Continue Reading

Not Dead Yet – Aereo Tries To Reinvent Itself By Arguing that it is a Cable System Entitled to Carry Television Stations Pursuant to the Statutory License

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
The Supreme Court decision in the Aereo case seemed to be the end of the line for the service that was retransmitting television stations signals without consent, as it found that the broadcasters were entitled to an injunction to force Aereo to cease the public performance of their signals without consent.  In fact, Aereo itself … Continue Reading

The Summer of Copyright, Part 2 – The House Judiciary Committee Plans Omnibus Music Licensing Bill – The “Music Bus”

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee last week finished its second hearing on music licensing (written witness statements and a link to the webcast can be found here).  Congressional hearings usually are not in-depth proceedings looking to establish detailed facts as done in a hearing in a court proceeding.  Instead, they are formalized proceedings where … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Finds Aereo Infringes on Broadcasters’ Public Performance Rights – Why the Court Got it Right

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
The Supreme Court decided the Aereo case (decision here) and, if I can brag a little, the decision was pretty much what we predicted here after the oral argument – a relatively narrow decision finding that there is a public performance of the broadcast television signals retransmitted by Aereo as part of their service.  The … Continue Reading

The Summer of Copyright and Music Licensing Part 1 – Songwriters Demand A Bigger Share

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
This is the summer of copyright – as seemingly every government agency with any connection to media issues is looking at music licensing and other copyright issues.  Much press was given to the House Judiciary Committee hearing held last week.  But the Congressional committee’s consideration of copyright issues is but one of the many places … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Extends Comment Dates on Webcasting Recordkeeping Requirements

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Copyright Royalty Board has extended the deadline for comments on proposals to change the recordkeeping obligations of webcasters and others who use music under the statutory license granted by Section 114 of the Copyright Act.  Some of the proposed changes include requiring that services provide ISRC codes for all songs when filing their Reports … Continue Reading

Copyright Office Announces One Week Extension for Comments on Music Licensing Inquiry and 3 Roundtable Discussions of the Issues – Just One of Many Proceedings Affecting Music Rights and Royalties

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
On Friday, the Copyright Office extended by one week the deadline for comments on its wide-ranging proceeding on the current music licensing regime and whether reforms are necessary or appropriate.  We wrote about the proceeding and the many questions that it raises here.  Comments are now due on May 23.  Comments can be filed on … Continue Reading

Broadcaster Asks Court to Declare that Internet Simulcasts of Radio Station Exempt From SoundExchange Royalties If Geo-Limited to a 150 Mile Zone

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Digital Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
This week brings news that a Virginia broadcaster has brought suit to have a court declare that broadcasters who stream their signal on the Internet, but limit the reception of the signal to within 150 miles of their transmitter site, should not have to pay royalties to SoundExchange.  As we have written before, when Congress … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Starts Rulemaking to Change Recordkeeping Requirements for Commercial and Noncommercial Webcasters

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
On Friday, the Copyright Royalty Board published in the Federal Register a proposal for changes in its recordkeeping rules – suggesting more detailed requirements for larger webcasters who are required to report the songs that they play on a “census” basis – that would be most webcasters who are required to report the songs that … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Reissues Decision on Internet Radio Royalties for 2011-2015 – Same Rates But New Analysis

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Last week, the Copyright Royalty Board published in the Federal Register its decision on Internet radio royalties for 2011-2015.  The question that I received many times since the publication last week is “huh, didn’t we already see that decision a long time ago?”  Indeed we did – the original decision setting the rates was reached … Continue Reading

Raising the Royalties for Musical Works? A Discussion of the Potential Dispute between Music Rights Holders over the Value of Their Rights

Posted in Appearances, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
In discussing music royalties, the controversy that usually makes the news is the dispute between music services and copyright holders – with services arguing that the royalties are too high and rightsholders contending that they are underpaid. The introduction of the Songwriters Equity Act in Congress earlier this year seems to point toward a new … Continue Reading

Copyright Office Begins Wide-Ranging Inquiry Into Music Licensing

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Copyright Office recently issued a Notice and Request for Public Comment on a study that they have commenced on music licensing in all of its forms.  We’ve written about the complexity of the music licensing process many times, and about proposals for reform.  Many of these proposals have been issued in connection with the … Continue Reading

Utah Court Enjoins Aereo Service – A Preview of the Supreme Court Decision? Could It Find Aereo to Violate Copyright Law Without Overturning the Cablevision Decision?

Posted in Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
Aereo finally lost a court decision.  The US District Court in Utah released a well-reasoned decision finding that the service, by transmitting via the Internet over-the-air TV programming to subscribers without any consent from the TV stations or their program suppliers, violated the copyrights that the stations have in their programming.  Specifically, the Court found … Continue Reading

Digital and Social Media Legal Issues for Broadcasters – Exercise Care in Using Internet Content on Your Digital Properties, And Why Fair Use is Not Always a Defense

Posted in Appearances, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
Social media and other digital platforms are playing a more and more important part of the business of traditional media companies.  In the last few weeks, I’ve participated in two seminars, looking at the legal issues that arise in these areas.  At the Winter Convention of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, I conducted a seminar outlining … Continue Reading

It’s the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles Arrival in the US – Why Are Their Songs Still Missing on Some On-Demand Music Services?

Posted in Appearances, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
50 years ago the Beatles invaded America, stacking up Number 1 hit records by the dozens, and creating music that, even today, remains incredibly popular with many Americans.  But go to many of the interactive or on-demand music services, like Spotify, and search for Beatles music, and what will you find?   Mostly cover tunes by … Continue Reading

What’s Up in Washington For Broadcasters in 2014? — Part 2, Issues beyond the FCC Including Ad Taxes, Music Royalties, Privacy Reforms, and More

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Privacy
We recently wrote about FCC issues that will be facing broadcasters in this new year.  While broadcasters will no doubt be busy keeping track of what the FCC is up to, they also need to have their eyes on other government agencies, as there are numerous issues that may come from Congress and the other … Continue Reading

Super Bowl, the Olympics and March Madness – Watch Your Advertising and Promotions for Unauthorized Uses of Trademarked Phrases

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
It’s that time again when broadcasters and advertisers need to watch their commercials and promotions to avoid improper uses of trademarked phrases – with the Super Bowl only weeks away, the Winter Olympics to follow soon thereafter and March Madness to follow closely after that.  Already, Stephen Colbert is making jokes about not using the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decides to Review Aereo – Why This is Not the New Betamax Case

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
The Supreme Court on Friday announced that is has decided to review the decision of a US Appeals Court in New York finding that the Aereo service of retransmitting over the Internet the signals of local television stations, without permission from or payment to those stations, was legal.  We wrote about the Second Circuit Court … Continue Reading

Learning Copyright Law from TV’s The Good Wife – Compulsory Licenses, Derivitive Works and Parody and Fair Use

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The Good Wife is not usually where one turns for serious discussions of music copyright issues (nor is Stephen Colbert’s Christmas special where we found copyright issues discussed several years ago).  But I was surprised to find this Sunday that the principal plot line of The Good Wife was focused on a music rights dispute.  … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Calls for Petitions to Participate in Proceeding to Set Webcasting Royalties for 2016-2020 – Posing Many Questions for Potential Participants

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The Copyright Royalty Board today published in the Federal Register its notice announcing the commencement of the next proceeding to set webcasting royalty rates for 2016-2020.  The Notices (here for webcasting and here for “new subscription services” – subscription webcasting and other similar pay digital music services, other than satellite and cable radio whose royalties … Continue Reading

New Music Royalty Rates for Ephemeral Recordings Used By Business Establishment Services

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
“Business Establishment Services” are copyright-speak for those music services that provide background music to commercial establishments.  These services have come a long way from the elevator music that once was so derided – and now set the mood in everything from retail clothing stores to restaurants to department stores with formats as varied as the … Continue Reading

The Courts Continue To Split on Streaming TV Services – As Boston Court Denies TV Broadcasters Request for an Injunction Against Aereo

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media
The battle over services that record and stream over-the-air TV without compensation to TV broadcasters has become even more confusing, with a US District Court judge in Boston denying an injunction to stop the Aereo service in Massachusetts in a suit brought by Hearst Corporation, which owns a local TV station. This decision comes on the … Continue Reading

Comments Sought on Commerce Department Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy – Including Issues of User Generated Content and Appropriate Damages for Copyright Infringement

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media
We wrote about the Department of Commerce’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy that was released back in July. While our article principally addressed the music issues raised by the Green Paper, many other issues were discussed in its 120 pages. The questions raised by the Aereo case (about which we … Continue Reading

Congressman Watt’s Music Royalty Bill – Performance Royalty For Over-the-Air Broadcasters And Other Fundamental Copyright Act Changes Impacting All Digital Music Services

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Congressman Mel Watt from North Carolina this week introduced his long-awaited bill proposing that over-the-air radio broadcasters pay a royalty to sound recording copyright holders (usually the record label) and to artists. As we have written many times, currently, royalties on sound recordings are paid only by companies that make digital performances, including webcasters (see our … Continue Reading