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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Petitions to Participate in Copyright Royalty Board Proceeding to Establish Royalty Rates for Business Establishment Services Due by February 2, 2017

Posted in Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Early this month, the Copyright Royalty Board announced that it will be starting a new proceeding to set the royalty rates to be paid by “business establishment services” for the rights to make ephemeral copies of sound recordings. The rates will apply for the period 2019-2023. Interested parties must file a Petition to Participate by… Continue Reading

As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2017 Update

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
Last year, we posted some guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly alludes to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL. We are at that time of year again, so here is an updated version of our prior post. In addition to the monies it receives annually… 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

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Ownership and EEO Comments, Copyright Issues and More

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Here we are at the start of a new year, and right away we have numerous regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. By the 10th of the month, all broadcast stations need to have placed in their public inspection files (online for TV and for those radio stations that have already converted to the online public file,… 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

Advertise Like Santa Is Watching – 6 Holiday Advertising/Marketing Tips to Help You Stay Off The Naughty List

Posted in Advertising Issues, Children's Programming and Advertising, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Programming Regulations, Trademark, Website Issues
It’s the holiday season, and many of us are turning our thoughts to celebrating with friends and family. It is also high season for shopping, which means the airwaves, social media, websites and print pages are full of opportunities to buy, sell, and advertise. Whether you consider that to be a feature or a bug,… 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

Legal Issues in Digital and Social Media – Identifying the Landmines for Broadcasters and Other Media Companies – A Video Webinar

Posted in Advertising Issues, Appearances, Children's Programming and Advertising, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Privacy, Trademark, Website Issues
Almost every week, we write about some legal issue that arises in digital and social media – many times talking about the traditional media company that did something that they shouldn’t have done in the online world, and ended up with some legal issues as a result. Two weeks ago, I conducted a webinar, hosted… 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

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