Public performances, synch and master use licensing, sound recordings, musical compositions – what are all these terms, and how does a digital media company make sense of them and figure out where to go get permission to use music in their business? These issues were discussed in a webinar that I did with my partner Rob Driscoll from our firm’s New York office for the Texas Association of Broadcasters. The slides for that presentation are available here. A revised and updated version of our memo on the Basics of Music Licensing in the Digital Media, giving more information on many of the subjects discussed in the presentation, has also just been published, and is available here.
During the presentation, we talked about the broadcaster’s royalty deal with SoundExchange for Internet radio streaming. Details of that settlement are here. The performance complement waivers that are associated with that agreement are detailed here. In the presentation, we also mentioned that stations with websites featuring user-generated content may avail themselves of a safe harbor from liability if they take certain precautions. Website operators must register with the Copyright Office the name and contact information of a person with responsibility to receive notices from copyright holders that users have posted infringing content, and to take down any content that is in fact infringing. The Copyright Office instructions for registration can be found here. These materials may not answer every question, but they may start you asking the right questions as you use music in connection with your digital properties.