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Category Archives: Music Rights

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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

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

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters and Webcasters – Children’s Television Reports, Quarterly Issues Programs List, Webcaster Elections and Minimum Fees, the Return of Lowest Unit Rates and More!

Posted in AM Radio, Children's Programming and Advertising, General FCC, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
A new month in a new year, and a number of new regulatory dates are upon us for broadcasters – and important dates for webcasters also fall in this month.  So now that the holidays are quickly becoming just a foggy memory, it is time to sharply focus on those regulatory obligations that you have … 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

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

Making Music Rights Manageable in a Digital World – Issues Identified In Commerce Department “Green Paper” on Copyright Policy

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
No one ever claimed that music royalties are easy to understand, especially in the digital age when nice, neat definitions that had grown up over many years in the physical world no longer necessarily make sense. The complexity of the world of digital music licensing is clear from many sources, but the Commerce Department’s “Green Paper” … Continue Reading

Flo and Eddie Use State Laws on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings to Target Certain Sirius XM Services

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Website Issues
In a lawsuit filed last week (see the complaint here), Flo and Eddie, the artists who were behind the 1960′s band The Turtles, claim that Sirius XM has infringed on the copyrights in their songs by allowing copies of these recordings to be made by the satellite radio service and in certain Internet offerings that … Continue Reading

Using Music in Radio or TV Productions – Why ASCAP, BMI and SESAC Licenses Usually Are Not Enough

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
Using music in commercials and other broadcast station productions can be treacherous. As we’ve written before, contrary to what some stations might think (based on the questions we often get from broadcasters around the country), a station’s ASCAP, BMI and SESAC royalties do not give them the right to use popular music in their station … Continue Reading

Apple Announces an Internet Radio Offering and Pandora Buys a “Real” Radio Station – What Does It Mean for Music Royalties?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
In one week this month, Apple announced that it will get into Internet Radio, and Pandora, the biggest player in that space, announced that it will be buying a traditional, over-the-air radio station. What do these two big announcements say about the state of music royalties for digital music services? Apple’s struggles to get its service … Continue Reading

How a NY State Court Decision on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Clouds the Safe Harbor Protections of Websites Featuring User Generated Content

Posted in Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
This week, the Chairman of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee issued a press release stating that he intends that the Committee do a thorough reexamination of the Copyright Act, noting that new technologies stemming from digital media have upset many settled expectations in Copyright Law, and confused many issues. That this release was issued … Continue Reading

Aereo Court Decision Permits Internet Streaming of TV Programs Without Royalties – Undermining the Public Performance Right?

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
We’ve written extensively about copyright issues for audio services, but the big copyright decision that recently made headlines is a TV issue, though one that could have an impact on audio as well. That was the Second Circuit decision in the Aereo case – upholding a lower court decision allowing a company to retransmit over-the-air TV signals … Continue Reading

Why the Differing Perceptions of the Value of Music by Digital Music Services and Copyright Holders Make Royalty Decisions So Hard

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
With the National Association of Broadcasters big convention coming up next week in Las Vegas, this week we’ll look at a couple of the issues that will likely be discussed when the industry gathers for its annual reunion. On Sunday, before most of the NAB Show begins, the Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN) will be holding … Continue Reading

Pandora Enters Settlement to Pay For Public Performance of Sony/ATV Musical Works – What’s Its Impact on Licensing for Music Services and Rights Holders?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Deciding how to pay music royalties has always been difficult – trying to figure out what permissions are necessary, who has the rights to grant such permission, and how much the rights will cost. The one place where the rights were fairly simple – paying for the right to publicly perform musical compositions – may be … Continue Reading

Gazing Into the Crystal Ball – What Washington Has In Store For Broadcasters in 2013

Posted in Broadband Report, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Internet Radio, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Privacy, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
Every year, about this time, I dust off the crystal ball to offer a look at the year ahead to see what Washington has in store for broadcasters. This year, like many in the recent past, Washington will consider important issues for both radio and TV, as well as issues affecting the growing on-line presence of … Continue Reading

Full Text of Copyright Royalty Board Decision on Sirius XM and Music Choice Royalties Released – The Basics of the Decision

Posted in Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The full decision of the Copyright Royalty Board setting the royalty rates to be paid to SoundExchange by Sirius XM and Music Choice from 2013 through 2017 has now been released.  We wrote about the initial release of the summary of the decision before Christmas.  The final decision is interesting in many respects. First, it is the first … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Releases New Rates for Sirius XM and Cable Radio – They are Going Up, Full Reasoning of the Decision to Come

Posted in Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Copyright Royalty Board has announced the royalties that will be paid for the public performance of sound recordings by Sirius XM for the period 2013-2017. The decision also covers the "Preexisting Subscription Services", i.e. Music Choice in connection with its cable radio service delivered with listener’s cable television packages. The full text of the decision is not released … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Oral Argument on Sirius XM SoundExchange Royalties – A View of the Application of the 801(b) Standard Proposed for Internet Radio

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The royalties that Sirius XM will pay to SoundExchange for the next 5 years will be decided by the Copyright Royalty Board ("CRB") in December. To summarize the hearings that have been held over the last year, the CRB held an oral argument last week, where Sirius XM and SoundExchange presented their arguments as to what those … Continue Reading

RMLC Files Antitrust Suit Against SESAC – What Does It Mean For Broadcasters?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Last week, the Radio Music License Committee (“RMLC” – see our article about the RMLC), filed a complaint in US District Court in Pennsylvania against SESAC, arguing that SESAC is a monopoly and should be treated like ASCAP and BMI.  RMLC is asking that SESAC be subject to an antitrust consent decree as are these two bigger collection societies. As … Continue Reading

Chaffetz Bill Introduced in House of Representatives to Adopt 801(b) Standard for Internet Radio Royalty Decisions of Copyright Royalty Board – What’s It All About?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The recent introduction of a bill by Congressman Jason Chaffetz offers proposals for reform of the operations of the Copyright Royalty Board – reforms that many in the Internet Radio industry have hailed as promising real change in the way that royalty decisions for webcasters have been made. While some webcasters seem to think that relief is … Continue Reading