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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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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

November Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Incentive Auction and Biennial Ownership Report Preparation, Reg Fee Comments, Music Issues, Text to Speech Emergency Information and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Television
November is another of those months with no regular filing obligations – no EEO public file and Mid-Term reports, no noncommercial ownership reports, and no quarterly issues programs lists or children’s television reports. EEO public file reports and noncommercial station ownership reports, being tied to renewal dates, will be back in December. See our Broadcaster’s… Continue Reading

Dueling Letters about SESAC Radio Station Royalties – What’s A Station to Do?

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
This week, many radio stations received a letter from SESAC, asking the stations to renew their last SESAC agreement for three years at a rate 5% lower than the rate at which they are currently paying. Sounds like a deal? But is there a catch? The SESAC letter makes clear that, by renewing the current… Continue Reading

Understanding Music Royalties – Congressional Research Service Releases Summary of the Law, While DOJ Asks for More Comments on ASCAP and BMI Consent Decree Reform

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The legal issues surrounding the use of music in broadcast and digital media is one of those topics that is usually enough to make eyes glaze over.  The importance of understanding these issues is illustrated by this week’s request from the Department of Justice for more information about the rights of songwriters to authorize ASCAP… Continue Reading

House Judiciary Committee Begins Nationwide Listening Tour on Copyright Reform – First Roundtable on September 22 in Nashville Focusing on Music Issues

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
The US House of Representatives has been looking at potential reform of the Copyright Act for some time, holding a number of hearings before the Committee here in Washington DC (see, for instance, our article here about one of those hearings). Yesterday, the Committee announced that it is taking its examination on the road, conducting… Continue Reading

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