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Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: On Line Media

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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
Last week, we wrote about the FCC’s decision to require that radio stations move their public inspection files online.  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 the… 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

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, Incentive Auction, FM Translators for AM Stations, Webcasting Fees, LUR Windows and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Children's Programming and Advertising, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Radio, Internet Video, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting, Television, Website Issues
While January starts off with some regulatory deadlines that apply to all broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs lists must be placed in a station’s public file by the 10th of January – there are many other dates that come due this month, dates to which broadcasters need to pay careful attention. For TV stations, they… 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

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Ownership and EEO Reports, Retransmission Consent and Foreign Ownership Rulemaking Comments, Incentive Auction and Accessibility Obligations

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Internet Video, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television, Website Issues
December is one of those months when all commercial broadcasters have at least one FCC deadline, and there are also many other filing dates of which many broadcasters need to take note.  For all commercial broadcasters, Biennial Ownership Reports are due on December 2.  Hopefully, most broadcasters have already completed this filing obligation, as FCC… 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

New Accessibility Compliance Deadlines for TV Stations Coming Very Soon

Posted in Digital Television, Emergency Communications, Internet Video, Low Power Television/Class A TV, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television, Website Issues
TV stations have in the past few years been hit with many requirements for making their programming – especially emergency information – accessible to all people within their service areas. Two deadlines loom in the very short term that stations need to remember – the requirements for converting text based emergency information aired on their… Continue Reading

Dates Set for Comments on Good Faith Negotiation of Retransmission Consent Agreements – What is the FCC Asking?

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Cable Carriage, Digital Television, On Line Media, Television
A month ago, the FCC released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to reassess the requirement that broadcasters and MVPDs (cable and satellite television) engage in “good faith” negotiations over the retransmission consent necessary for the MVPD to rebroadcast the signal of a broadcast television station, triggering numerous questions throughout the industry (and among financial… 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

A Compulsory License for Internet TV Platforms to Retransmit Broadcast TV? One US District Court Considering FilmOnX Seems to Think So

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
  Over-the-top video systems, using the Internet to transmit over-the-air TV signals to consumers, are back in the news. Last week, a US District Court Judge in the Central District of California, in a case involving FilmOnX, an Aereo-like service that had been involved in many of the court decisions that had preceded the Supreme… 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

FCC Admonishes TV Station for Including Commercial Website Address in Children’s Program – A Good Reminder on Children’s Television Program Restrictions

Posted in Children's Programming and Advertising, FCC Fines, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television, Website Issues
In a decision just released by the FCC, a TV station was admonished for including, in the credits of a TV program, the URL for a website that contained commercial material. As this was deemed by the FCC to be an isolated occurrence, the station was only admonished, not fined for the violation. But the… 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