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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Radio Music License Committee Settles Antitrust Suit Against SESAC – What Does it Mean for the Radio Industry?

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Digital Radio, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Yesterday, it was announced that the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) settled its lawsuit with SESAC (see the press release here, and the full agreement here), where the RMLC had charged that SESAC’s practices in collecting its music royalties from the radio industry violated the antitrust laws (we wrote about the filing of the lawsuit… Continue Reading

FCC Asks for Comments on Petition for Rulemaking that Would Tie TV License Renewals to Restrictions on Blackouts after the Expiration of Retransmission Consent Agreements

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, License Renewal, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The FCC issued a public notice seeking comment on a Petition for Rulemaking filed by cable operator Mediacom asking for the FCC to require TV stations, in their license renewal applications, to certify that the licensee will not block any multichannel video programming distributor (i.e. cable or satellite TV) from carrying the signal of the station… Continue Reading

Does a Local Business Need Licenses from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC to Play My Radio or TV Station on Their Premises?

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Television
Twice this morning, I was faced with the question of whether a business needs a license to play a radio or TV station on their premises, once in a story in one of the broadcast trade publications (see the article here, in the You Can’t Make This Up column toward the bottom of the article)… Continue Reading

July Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Incentive Auction Actions, CRB Webcasting Closing Argument and More

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Another month is upon us, with the typical list of FCC dates of importance – and some new issues (including incentive auction developments that will probably be a regular part of our news through a good part of next year). One date of importance to some TV broadcasters was yesterday – July 1 – when… Continue Reading

Understanding the Murky State of the Performance Right in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings – Florida Court Rejects the Right yet Sirius XM Settles With the Record Labels

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
It’s another summer with music copyright issues hitting the press almost every day. Over the next week or two, we will try to catch up on some of the legal issues raised by all the music news. First, let’s look at the significant actions in the last ten days in the battle over whether there… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Begins Hearings on Webcasting Royalty Rates for 2016-2020 – When Will We See a Decision?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Copyright Royalty Board has begun the hearing phase of its proceeding to set the royalties to be paid by webcasters (or noninteractive digital music services) for public performances of sound recordings for the years 2016-2020. These are the royalties paid by Internet radio companies to SoundExchange, allowing them to play any recorded music legally… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Starts New Study on Enforcing Copyrights on Photos and Other Visual Images in a Digital World

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Website Issues
We have written in the past about the concerns that broadcasters face about the unauthorized use of photos on station websites. Some broadcasters have had problems when they found that photos posted on their websites were posted without permission of the copyright holder – and representatives of the copyright holder contacted the stations with demands… Continue Reading

How Misunderstandings about Big Numbers Distort the Debate over Songwriter Digital Music Royalties – As the DOJ Readies its Recommendations for Reform of the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Press reports indicate that the Department of Justice is nearing the completion of its study of whether to suggest the revision of the antitrust consent decrees that have bound ASCAP and BMI for over a half century (see our summary of the issues that DOJ is considering here). Much of the impetus behind this review comes… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Calls for Greater Independence – What Would that Mean?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Could the Copyright Office become an independent agency with rulemaking power? Congress is examining all phases of copyright law, as well as the functioning of the Copyright Office. In connection with that review, the Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante (the head of the Copyright Office) sent a letter to John Conyers, the Ranking Member of… Continue Reading

Songwriter’s Equity Act Reintroduced – What Does It Propose?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Songwriter’s Equity Act has once again been introduced in Congress (see our article about that Act when it was introduced in the last Congress). It proposes to make changes in provisions of the Copyright Act governing the way that songwriters are paid for the use of their musical compositions – with the obvious intent… Continue Reading

March Madness is a Trademarked Term – Use Caution in Using it in Advertising and Promotion

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations
We are in March, which means that the minds of many turn to basketball, specifically March Madness as the NCAA hosts its annual championship tournament to crown college basketball’s national champion. And many broadcasters want to take advantage of the tournament to promote their stations or the products of their sponsors. Because of this inclination,… Continue Reading

FCC Extends Comment Dates in Proceeding Looking to Regulate Online Video Under MVPD Rules

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
The FCC yesterday released a public notice extending the comment dates in their proceeding to regulate Online (or “over-the-top”) Video, particularly Internet video providers who provide multiple channels of linear video programming (programming streamed at the same time to all viewers, as opposed to on-demand video like that provided by Netflix or Amazon), in the… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Issues its Report on Music Licensing – Issues Include Broadcast Performance Royalties, Publisher Withdrawals from ASCAP and BMI, and Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Copyright Office this past week released its Report following its study of music licensing in the US; a comprehensive report addressing a number of very controversial issues concerning music rights and royalties.  Whether its release during the week of the Grammy Awards was a coincidence or not, the report itself, which takes positions on… Continue Reading

Beware of Music in Your Podcasts – SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC Don’t Give You the Rights You Need

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Website Issues
Last week, I listened in to presentation by RAIN News providing an excellent overview of the digital music industry (their Whitepaper setting out the findings reported during the presentation is available here).  One statement in that presentation suggested to me today’s topic – the use of music in podcasts.  In the RAIN presentation, a statement… Continue Reading

What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters and Digital Media Companies in 2015 – Part 2 – Court Cases, Congressional Communications and Copyright Reform, and Other Issues

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Digital Radio, Digital Television, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Television
Last month, we wrote about the FCC issues facing broadcasters in 2015.  Today, we’ll look at decisions that may come in other venues that could affect broadcasters and media companies in the remaining 11 months of 2015.  There are many actions in courts, at government agencies and in Congress that could change law or policy… Continue Reading

SoundExchange to Audit iHeart, CBS and Other Webcasters and Digital Music Services

Posted in Digital Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
This week, several notices of the intent to audit the records of several webcasters and other digital music services were published in the Federal Register, indicating that SoundExchange was planning on having the royalty payment records of these services reviewed.  Notices were sent to services including Live365, iHeartMedia and CBS).  Those notices have prompted several… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Announces Settlement between Sirius and SoundExchange for New Subscription Services Packaged with Cable and Satellite Video – How Different Royalty Standards Result in Different Royalty Rates

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Last week, the Copyright Royalty Board asked for comments on a proposed settlement agreement between Sirius XM and SoundExchange, and some articles about that announcement have not been entirely clear about what the deal covers.  It has nothing to do with webcasting royalties for 2016-2020, which are still being litigated (see our article here about… Continue Reading

FCC Regulation of Internet Video? – Dates Set for Comments on Treating Over-the-Top Video Providers like Cable and Satellite TV

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television, Website Issues
Who says that the Internet is not regulated?  Whether to treat Internet video providers by the same rules that apply to cable and direct broadcast satellite systems is the subject of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by the FCC just before Christmas, notice of which was published in the Federal Register today, setting the… Continue Reading

Beware of the Trademark and Copyright Issues in Ads and Promotions Involving the Super Bowl

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations
With the college football champion now decided, and the NFL league championships this coming weekend to decide this year’s Super Bowl teams, it’s that time when we post our warning about being careful with using the phrase “Super Bowl” in your promotions and commercials.  Both copyright and trademark issues can arise at Super Bowl time. … Continue Reading

On Elvis’ Birthday – Looking at the Issues with Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Today is Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday, so it seems appropriate to revisit the issue of pre-1972 sound recordings, and to take a deeper look at the recent decisions by courts in New York and California finding that there is a public performance right in these recordings.  The NY decision in a case brought by Flo… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Upholds Copyright Royalty Board Decision on Sirius XM and Music Choice Royalties

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
A decision by the US Court of Appeals on the appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board decision as to the Sirius XM and Music Choice royalties for the public performance of sound recordings is one of the many year-end decisions important to broadcasters and digital media companies that seems to be flooding out from Courts… Continue Reading

Congress Passes STELAR – Renewing Authorization of Satellite Carriers Carriage of TV Stations – With Some Important Changes to JSA, Retransmission Consent and Market Modification Rules

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Uncategorized
Last week, the Senate approved a reauthorization of STELA, the new bill called STELAR (the “STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014”), adopting the version that had been approved by the House of Representatives earlier in the month.  In addition to simply giving satellite television companies (essentially DISH and DirecTV) the a five-year extension of their rights… Continue Reading

New York Court Finds Public Performance Right in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings – How Will This Affect Businesses that Use Music?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
On Friday, the US District Court in the Southern District of NY found that there is a public performance right in pre-1972 sound recordings in that state, following two decisions from California finding a similar right under California law (though on different grounds).  Like the first decision in California (about which we wrote here), this… Continue Reading

Noncommercial Webcasters Royalty Rate Proposals for 2016-2020

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Noncommercial webcasters are often forgotten in the discussion of the current proceeding to set Internet radio sound recording royalties. But, along with the royalties for commercial webcasters (we wrote about the proposed commercial rates here), the current Copyright Royalty Board proceeding will also set the rates for noncommercial webcasters.  Various proposals for noncommercial royalties have… Continue Reading