Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Broadcast Performance Royalty

Subscribe to Broadcast Performance Royalty RSS Feed

Playing Music in Bars and Restaurants – Cautions When Allowing Broadcast Stations to Play in Retail Outlets

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Yesterday, I noted a news story about a bar that stopped hosting live music when it was hit with a lawsuit by BMI because it had not paid royalties for its use of music.  The issue of music in bars and restaurants also came up in a continuing legal education seminar on music licensing that… Continue Reading

No Cost of Living Change in Webcasting Royalties for 2019 – Rate Proceeding for 2021-2026 about to Begin

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
Last week, the Copyright Royalty Board announced its calculations for whether there would be a cost of living increase in the 2019 rates that Internet radio stations pay to SoundExchange for the public performance of sound recordings. In its initial release on the subject, the CRB’s announcement indicated that commercial webcasters would continue to pay… Continue Reading

Hey Alexa – Remind Me How Much You Are Increasing My SoundExchange Music Royalties

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Podcasting
At almost every broadcast conference, there is a discussion of using Alexa, Google Home and other smart speakers and digital assistants to increase the reach of broadcast radio stations. Discussions of how to get listeners to tune in and how to monetize the listeners on these new platforms are regularly included. But rarely is there a… Continue Reading

Music Modernization Act Becomes Law – Mechanical Rights To Become Easier Just As Performance Rights May Become More Difficult

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Last week, after passage by both chambers of Congress and signature by the President, the ‘‘Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act’’ became law. The law underwent a few changes on its journey to approval, adding new provisions in the Senate to those which we summarized here upon its initial passage by the House. The… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Annual Regulatory Fees; Nationwide EAS Test; Comment Dates on FM Translator Interference, Audio Competition, Children’s Television Requirements, and Reimbursement for LPTV and FM Repacking Costs; and More

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Children's Programming and Advertising, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Programming Regulations, Television
While September is one of those months with neither EEO reports nor Quarterly Issues Programs or Children’s Television Reports, that does not mean that there are no regulatory matters of importance to broadcasters. Quite the contrary – as there are many deadlines to which broadcasters should be paying attention. The one regulatory obligation that in… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Finds That Digital Remasters of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Likely Do Not Result in New Copyrighted Work That Would Bring These Songs under Federal Law – Reversing District Court Decision

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Two years ago, a District Court Judge, in a case brought against a broadcaster alleging that the broadcaster owed money under California state law for playing pre-1972 sound recordings, dismissed the suit finding that the broadcaster was playing digitized versions of those songs, created after 1972, which were covered under Federal copyright law (we wrote… Continue Reading

Hey, Alexa, How Much Did You Raise My SoundExchange Royalties?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
In the last year, the popularity of Alexa, Google Home and similar “smart speaker” devices has led to discussions at almost every broadcast conference of how radio broadcasters should embrace the technology as the new way for listeners to access radio programming in their homes. Broadcasters are urged to adopt strategies to take advantage of the… Continue Reading

RMLC Initiates Rate Court Proceeding with BMI to Set Radio Royalties – What Does It Mean?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Last week, the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC), the organization representing most commercial radio broadcasters in negotiating performance royalties for musical compositions, initiated a proceeding in US District Court in the Southern District of New York against BMI.  This action raises short-term issues as to what this particular lawsuit means for the radio industry, and… Continue Reading

Commercial Radio – Remember to Sign RMLC/SESAC Contract By March 26 to Get the Full Benefit of Arbitration Decision

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
We wrote last summer about the substantial reductions in SESAC royalties that the Radio Music License Committee was able to achieve for commercial radio stations through a decision in its arbitration proceeding. RMLC recently sent out an email to all commercial stations that had authorized it to act on the stations’ behalf reminding them that,… Continue Reading

March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Online Public File for Radio and Biennial Ownership Reports, Effective Date of ATSC 3.0, Comments on TV National Ownership and Media Modernization, and GMR Extension

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Children's Programming and Advertising, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
March is one of those months where without the Annual EEO Public File Reports that come up for different states every other month, or without the Quarterly Issues Programs List and Children’s Television Report obligations that arise following the end of every calendar quarter. But this March has two very significant deadlines right at the… Continue Reading

GMR to Extend Commercial Radio Interim Licenses Until September 30, 2018

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
On Friday, the Radio Music License Committee issued a press release that states that Global Music Rights (“GMR”), the new performing rights organization that collects royalties for the public performance of songs written by a number of popular songwriters (including Bruce Springsteen, members of the Eagles, Pharrell Williams and others) has agreed to extend their… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Upholds BMI Decision Allowing Fractional Music Licensing – What Are the Issues?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a “Summary Order” that the Court said does “not have precedential effect,” upheld an even briefer decision of the US District Court Judge who oversees the BMI antitrust consent decree, determining that the Department of Justice was wrong in its interpretation of the consent… Continue Reading

Magistrate Rules RMLC Suit Against GMR Should Not Be Litigated in Pennsylvania – What Does that Mean for Radio Companies?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Yesterday brought news that a Federal Magistrate issued a ruling (a 42 page order discussing fine points of law) deciding that the antitrust lawsuit brought by RMLC against GMR should not be tried in the Pennsylvania court where the suit was brought. As we wrote here, RMLC (the group that represents many commercial radio operators… Continue Reading

SoundExchange Royalties Going Up for Webcasters in 2018

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The Copyright Royalty Board yesterday announced in the Federal Register, here, that the sound recording royalty rates paid to SoundExchange will be increasing next year.  In December 2015, when the CRB set the current royalty rates that apply from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020 (see our articles here and here), the CRB noted that… Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court Rejects Public Performance Right in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings – What’s Next?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
In a decision this week, the Florida Supreme Court rejected claims by Flo & Eddie (of the 1960s band the Turtles) that there was a common law public performance right in pre-1972 sound recordings in the state of Florida (the opinion is available here). The Florida court, after examining numerous avenues of argument, concluded that… Continue Reading

Are You Streaming Your Radio Station? Reminder that Broadcasters Need to Pay Royalties to SoundExchange as well as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The alphabet soup of organizations that collect royalties for playing music has never been easy to keep straight, and today royalty issues sometimes seem even more daunting with new players like GMR (see our articles here, here and here) and arguments over issues like fractional licensing that only a music lawyer could love (see our… Continue Reading

September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Including Reg Fees, Nationwide EAS Test, Must-Carry Letters, Lowest Unit Rate, Translator and Repack Deadlines and GMR License Extension

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Emergency Communications, FCC Fees, FM Radio, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Political Broadcasting, Television
Summer is coming to an end, but the legal obligations never take a vacation, and September brings another list of regulatory deadlines for broadcasters. While the month is one of those without the usual list of EEO Public File obligations or quarterly FCC filing obligations, there still are a number of other regulatory deadlines for… Continue Reading

Looking at Music Royalty Issues for Radio and TV Broadcasters

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Last week, I participated in a discussion about music royalties for broadcasters at the Texas Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention in Austin. Speaking on the panel with me were the heads of the Radio Music License Committee and the TV Music Licensing Committee. These are the organizations that represent most commercial broadcasters in their negotiations… Continue Reading

GMR Offers Commercial Radio 6 Month Extension of Interim License to Play Their Songs

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Global Music Rights, commonly known as GMR, is the newest Performing Rights Organization (PRO) in the US music business, licensing public performance rights to musical compositions of songwriters as diverse as various members of the Eagles to Pharrell Williams to George Gershwin. As we wrote here, in December, they offered a temporary license to the… Continue Reading

SESAC Royalties for Commercial Radio Slashed By More Than Half – Both SESAC and RMLC Claim Victory in Arbitration

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
It was announced this week that SESAC’s royalties for radio for the period starting at the beginning of 2016 through the end of 2018 have been slashed – being reduced to less than half what they were in 2015.  This decision came out of an arbitration process that resulted from the settlement of an antitrust… Continue Reading

CLASSICS Act Introduced to Provide Pre-1972 Sound Recording Public Performance Clarity – What Issues Does It Leave Unresolved?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The CLASSICS (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society) Act was introduced in Congress last week to try to clear up some of the ongoing disputes over the public performance rights of pre-1972 sound recordings. Through litigation, certain copyright holders (including, most notably, Flo and Eddie of the 1960’s band… Continue Reading

New Congressional Attempts to Impose a Performance Royalty for Sound Recordings on Broadcast Radio, Including the PROMOTE Act – What Do They Provide?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
In the last month, there have been two bills introduced in the US House of Representatives seeking to impose a performance royalty for sound recordings on broadcast radio stations in the US. The bill introduced yesterday, The PROMOTE Act (standing for the Performance Royalty Owners of Music Opportunity to Earn Act – whatever that may… Continue Reading

Bill Proposes to Make the Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointee

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media
The Copyright Office is now a part of the Library of Congress, with the Register of Copyrights (the head of the Copyright Office) appointed by the Librarian of Congress. As part of its plans to review the Copyright Act, the House Judiciary Committee asked for comments earlier this year about structural reform of the Copyright… Continue Reading

New Wrinkle in Pre-1972 Sound Recording Cases – Georgia Supreme Court Holds that iHeart Streaming Does Not Violate State Criminal Statute

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The Georgia Supreme Court this week issued a decision holding that the streaming of pre-1972 sound recordings by iHeart Media does not violate the state’s criminal statutes against the “transfer” of recorded sounds without the permission of the owner of the master recording. While many trade press articles have lumped this decision in with the… Continue Reading