Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: On Line Media

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Legal Issues for Digital Audio Companies – A Presentation

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Trademark, Website Issues
This week, I was given 15 minutes at the RAIN (Radio and Internet Newsletter) Summit in Nashville to summarize all of the legal issues that are important to digital audio companies including webcasters and podcasters.  While getting everything into a presentation that short entailed some speed talking and the briefest description of many very complicated… Continue Reading

BMI Judge Rejects DOJ Conclusion that Consent Decree Requires 100% of Songs – What Does that Mean for Music Services?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
On Friday, the US District Court judge who oversees the administration of the BMI Consent Decree rejected the recent Department of Justice interpretation that the antitrust consent decree required that, when BMI licensed music to music users, that license would embody the full musical work, not just a fractional interest that might be held by… Continue Reading

September FCC Meeting To Be a Big One for Media Companies – Set Top Boxes, Foreign Ownership of Broadcast Stations and Promotion of Independent Programming

Posted in Cable Carriage, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television
September 29 will be a big day for broadcasters and other media companies when the FCC holds its next open meeting. In the tentative agenda for that meeting released on Thursday, the FCC identified several issues that deal with the media including two big items on video issues – the decision as to what to… Continue Reading

What’s Up With Music Rights for Broadcasters and Webcasters? – A Presentation on Pending Issues

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
While this summer has perhaps not brought the big headlines in trade press about copyright issues involving broadcasters – particularly in the area of music rights – there still are many issues that are active. I addressed some of those issues in a presentation earlier this month at the Texas Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention. I… Continue Reading

Congressional Proposal for Copyright Small Claims Court – What Does It Suggest?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
In the last few weeks, we’ve seen almost daily press reports of new lawsuits against media companies being sued for the use of photos on their websites without permission of the photographers. We’ve written many times about copyright issues that can arise if media companies put content on their website without getting permission of the… Continue Reading

SOCAN Buys Audiam – The Consolidation and Fragmentation of Music Rights – What Does it Mean for Music Services?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
The Canadian performance rights society SOCAN (essentially the Canadian version of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) has announced the purchase of Audiam, a private company that specialized in representing composers trying to maximize their music rights collections – both for performance rights and mechanical royalties – worldwide. Audiam also claims to provide a comprehensive database of… Continue Reading

A Question for Readers – What’s Brexit’s Impact on Music Licensing in Europe?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Usually, on these pages, I’m trying to give my views on legal issues for media companies. Today, I’ll ask for your views on today’s news – as least as it affects media companies.  We write extensively here about US music rights issues, and we have noted how US media companies with an online presence need… Continue Reading

FCC Announces June 24 Effective Date for Radio Online Public Inspection File and New System for TV Stations Online File, Plus a Reminder to Upload JSAs

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
The FCC today issued a Public Notice that the obligation will begin on June 24 to start uploading documents to the online public file for radio stations in the Top 50 markets .   For Top 50 market commercial radio stations that are part of employment units with 5 or more full-time employees, the June 24… Continue Reading

New Federal Advertising Rules on E-Cigs and Other Tobacco Products Adopted – To Become Effective within Two Years

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, FM Radio, Internet Radio, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
E-Cigs and vape shops have become a new advertising category for many broadcast stations over the last few years. Unlike ads for cigarettes, little cigars, and smokeless (chewing) tobacco, which are effectively banned on broadcast stations, there are currently few Federal rules on e-cigs. Ads currently cannot make health claims about the product (so 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

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

Online Public Inspection File for Radio Still in the Future – Practical Impact Still a Few Months Away

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
In the last day or two, some broadcast trade press reports may have given the impression that the FCC’s new online public file rules for radio may now be “effective,” suggesting that Top 50 market stations with 5 or more full-time employees need to start uploading their new political documents into the file (the first… 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

On Its 20th Anniversary, Looking Back at How the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Changed the Broadcast Regulatory Landscape

Posted in General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, License Renewal, Multiple Ownership Rules, On Line Media, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
In Washington DC this week, many in the communications world are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Five years ago, we noted the changes that the Act made in the broadcast regulatory world – changes that are still being debated 20 years later. To show how little things… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Order on Online Public Inspection File – Answering Questions about Compliance with Radio’s New Obligations

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
Last week, we wrote about the FCC’s decision to require that radio stations move their public inspection files online.  Commercial stations with 5 or more full-time employees that are located in Top 50 markets need to make the transition to the online file later this year once the FCC gets its new rules approved by… Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Online Public File Requirements for Radio, Satellite and Cable – To be Effective for Large Market Radio Later This Year

Posted in AM Radio, Cable Carriage, FM Radio, General FCC, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
The FCC today adopted rules to require that the public inspection files of radio stations (and of cable television systems and operators of satellite radio and television companies) to put their public inspection files online.  While, thus far, the FCC has only released a public notice summarizing its decision and not the full text explaining… Continue Reading

What Washington Has in Store for Broadcasters in 2016 – Looking at the Legal Issues that the FCC Will Be Considering in the New Year

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Indecency, Internet Video, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
It’s that time of the year when we need to dust off the crystal ball and make predictions about the legal issues that will impact the business of broadcasters in 2016.  While we try to look ahead to identify the issues that are on the agenda of the FCC and other government agencies, there are… Continue Reading

Confirmed – The FCC Will Act to Require Online Public File for Radio, Satellite and Cable This Month

Posted in AM Radio, FM Radio, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Last week, we noted that an order acting on the FCC’s proposal to adopt a requirement for an online public file for radio, cable and satellite had been prepared and was circulating among the FCC commissioners for their review.  Yesterday, in a post on the FCC’s blog, the FCC Chairman confirmed that the decision would… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Set to Begin 3 New Royalty Proceedings – Mechanical Royalty, Sirius XM Satellite Royalty, and Noncommercial Broadcasting Over-the-Air Royalties

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media
In tomorrow’s Federal Register, the Copyright Royalty Board will announce the commencement of three new proceedings to set music royalties for the 2018-2022 five-year period – each involving a different music right. The Board will begin a proceeding dealing with the digital public performances of sound recordings by satellite radio and “pre-existing subscription services” –… Continue Reading