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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Copyright Royalty Board Webcasting Royalty Decision Published in the Federal Register – Appeals Due in 30 Days

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The Copyright Royalty Board Decision on the royalty rates to be paid for the public performance of sound recordings by Internet radio companies – webcasting royalties – was published in the Federal Register today. We wrote about that decision setting the royalties here and here. The publication in the Federal Register gives parties to the… 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

Can You Trademark A State’s Name? Can Such a Trademark Affect a Broadcast Program Title or Other Product Names?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trademark
Can the name of a state be trademarked so that no one else can use it in a particular line of business? Last week, in connection with the denial of the trademark application filed by the producers of the podcast SERIAL, we wrote about the difficulty of trademarking brands that are descriptive of the product… 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

Copyright Office Reviews Section 512 Safe Harbor for Online User-Generated Content – The Differing Perceptions of Musicians and Other Copyright Holders and Online Service Providers on the Notice and Take-Down Process

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
Both the popular and media trade press has been full of reports in the last few weeks about musicians and other artists petitioning the Copyright Office to hold YouTube and other online services liable for infringement when the artists’ copyrighted material appears on the service (see, e.g. the articles here and here). The complaints allege… Continue Reading

SERIAL Trademark Denied – Should One of the Most Popular Podcasts Ever Be Able to Protect Its Name?

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Trademark
This article was written by two new contributors to the Blog, trademark attorneys Radhika “Ronnie” Raju and Kelly Donohue. According to the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), the answer is “No,” as the PTO recently refused an application by the producer of the podcast to register the mark SERIAL for an ongoing audio program, finding… Continue Reading

Another Loss for FilmOnX in its Quest to Be Recognized as a Cable System Entitled to Rely on Statutory License to Retransmit TV Signals

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
FilmOnX, that Aereo copycat service that seeks to deliver the signals of over-the-air television stations to consumers’ computers for a fee, has lost another round in its attempt to be recognized as a cable system. Ever since the Aereo decision of the Supreme Court (which we summarized here), finding that services like Aereo and FilmOn… Continue Reading

5 Things Broadcasters Should Know About SoundExchange Music Royalties

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The recent Copyright Royalty Board decision (see my summary here) setting the rates to be paid by Internet radio operators to SoundExchange for the rights to publicly perform sound recordings (a particular recording of a song as performed by an artist or band) still raises many questions. Today, Jacobs Media Strategies published on their blog… Continue Reading

It’s March Madness! Know the NCAA’s Rulebook or Risk A Foul Call Against the Unauthorized Use of Its Trademarks

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
Two months ago, I wrote here about the risks of publishing ads or engaging in promotional activities that refer to the Super Bowl” without approval of the NFL. Now, with the NCAA Basketball Tournament about to begin, broadcasters, publishers and other businesses need to be multiply wary about potential claims arising from their use terms… Continue Reading

March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Incentive Auction Commitments, New Webcasting Royalties, and Comments on AM Revitalization and Copyright Safe Harbor for User-Generated Content

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
March appears to be another busy month on the FCC’s regulatory calendar.  While March is one of those months where there is not the usual assortment of EEO public file reports, quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports and noncommercial ownership report obligations (see our Broadcasters’ Regulatory Calendar here for some of these dates),… Continue Reading

Looking at the Decision of the Copyright Royalty Board on Internet Radio Royalties for Commercial Webcasters – What are the Issues that the Judges Considered?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The text of the Copyright Royalty Board decision on Internet Radio Royalties for 2026-2020 was released last Friday. While it is 203 pages long, the basis for the decision is relatively simple. As required by the Copyright Act, the Copyright Royalty Judges looked at all of the evidence presented to determine what rate a willing… Continue Reading

Full Copyright Royalty Board Decision on Webcasting Royalties Now Public

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The full decision of the Copyright Royalty Board on Internet Radio royalties, excluding confidential information, has now been made public and is available here.  In December, we wrote about the rates and terms of the royalties that webcasters pay to SoundExchange for the public performance of sound recordings as set by the CRB decision, and… Continue Reading

SoundExchange Audits of Digital Music Companies and Sport Leagues Audits of MVPDs Published in the Federal Register – Understanding Audit Rights Under Statutory Licenses

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Television
In the last week, copyright audits have been in the news.  Several broadcasting publications noted the recent announcements by the Copyright Royalty Board that SoundExchange has decided to audit several companies that pay it royalties, including webcasters (including Pandora and a number of broadcasters in connection with their webcast operations), business establishments services (those who… Continue Reading

As The Golden Super Bowl Approaches, Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose from Unauthorized Ads and Promotions

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
With the Super Bowl fast approaching, broadcasters and other media companies are planning advertising and promotions around the big game.  Here is some advice to broadcasters from Mitchell Stabbe, a lawyer from my firm who has spent over 30 years counseling businesses on trademark issues, about legal cautions to consider in finalizing your plans: In addition to… Continue Reading

Webcasting Royalty Decision Developments – Revised Rates and Terms from the CRB, Issues about Performance Complement and Small Webcasters

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The actions and reactions in response to the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision from two weeks ago continue to roll in as the ramifications of the decision sink in. In the days before Christmas, two announcements were made that warrant note. One was a decision of the CRB itself, correcting the rates and terms that it… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Rules that Prohibition Against Federal Registration of Disparaging Trademarks is Unconstitutional Restriction of Free Speech

Posted in Intellectual Property, Trademark, Website Issues
A recent Court of Appeals decision that could have an impact on the Washington Redskins trademark dispute about their team name, is covered in the following article by my law partner, Mitchell Stabbe, who specializes in trademark law.  He writes about a case where the Court determined that a trademark rule that has led to… Continue Reading

Big News That the Beatles Are Now Available on Streaming Services? – Actually They Have Been on Internet Radio All Along

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Uncategorized
Many are sitting around enjoying their holiday treats while listening to the Beatles on their favorite on-demand streaming service, and the press is treating this as a breakthrough – usually omitting the fact that the Beatles have been available on many streaming services for as long as there have been streaming services, namely on Internet… Continue Reading

Explaining the Basics of the CRB Webcasting Royalty Decision – An Audio Discussion

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Earlier today, Triton Digital’s President for Market Development John Rosso and I discussed the new webcasting royalty rates adopted last week by the Copyright Royalty Board to cover the sound recording performance royalty for 2016-2020.  You can listen to that conversation discussing the basics of that decision here.  John and I discuss what rights the… Continue Reading

CRB Announces Webcasting Royalty Rates for 2016-2020 – Lower Rates for Broadcasters Who Stream, Minimal Change for Pureplay Webcasters

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media
The Copyright Royalty Board yesterday announced on its website the royalty rates that webcasters will pay to SoundExchange for the use of sound recordings in their digital transmissions over the Internet and to mobile devices in the period from 2016-2020.  For commercial webcasters, the CRB set $.0017 as the per performance (i.e. the rate paid… Continue Reading

Waiting for the Copyright Royalty Board Decision on Internet Radio Royalty Rates – Decision To Be Announced on Wednesday

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
It seems like every streaming company, and every financial analyst and reporter covering the media beat has been breathlessly awaiting the release of the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision on Internet Radio Royalties that will apply to noninteractive streaming companies during the years 2016-2020.  Many have been predicting a decision for days.  But, in a public… Continue Reading

DC Court Finds FilmOn X Internet TV Service is Not a Cable System and Cannot Rely on Statutory License to Retransmit Over-the-Air TV Signals

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Television, Website Issues
The US District Court in Washington DC last week decided that FilmOn X could not rely on the compulsory license of Section 111 of the Copyright Act to retransmit the signal of over-the-air television stations to consumers over the Internet. The compulsory license allows a system to rebroadcast copyrighted material without getting express permission from… Continue Reading

Beware of Using Photos on Your Website – Make Sure that You Have the Rights Before You Post

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Website Issues
The use of photographs on websites continues to be an issue. According to trade press reports, lawsuits were filed against two broadcasters for the unauthorized use of photos on websites, though one suit was quickly dismissed as the named broadcaster in fact had purchased rights to the photos through Getty Images, a clearance house for… Continue Reading

Adele’s New Record is Not on Online Streaming Services – Except Where It Is – The Difference Between Interactive and Noninteractive Streaming

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Adele’s decision to not stream her new CD “25” on services like Apple Music and Spotify has been the talk of the entertainment press pages – like this article from the New York Times.  These articles make it sound like, if you listen to any Internet music service, you’ll not hear a song from the… Continue Reading

Highlighting the Scope of Legal Issues that Can Arise in a Media Company’s Digital Operations

Posted in Appearances, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
What legal issues should a broadcaster be concerned about when expanding its use of digital media?  Two weeks ago, I did a presentation for the CBI National Student Electronic Media Conference on issues for college broadcasters who are using digital media.  While this presentation was made to college broadcasters, most of the issues discussed are… Continue Reading