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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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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

Using Copyrighted Content on a Website – Including News Articles and Videos – Secure the Rights!

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Website Issues
In recent weeks, I have had several calls from broadcasters asking if it was permissible to copy articles from other news sources and post them on the station website – with attribution to the original source. As I told them, posting content without permission of the copyright holder can lead to big problems. We have… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Grants Second Extension of Comment Dates in Proceeding Looking at MVPD Reporting Obligations and the Definition of Cable System

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Programming Regulations, Television
In December, we wrote about a proceeding initiated by the Copyright Office to review the reporting obligations of cable and satellite television systems related to the statutory license that permits those systems to carry the programming of local television stations.  Systems must report information including revenue and subscriber information that allow royalties to be computed. … Continue Reading

Court Finds That Embedded Twitter Photo on Website May Subject Website Owner to Copyright Liability – Be Careful What You Post

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Website Issues
Last week, a US District Court Judge in the influential Southern District of New York issued an opinion finding that the fact that a picture of New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady that was displayed on the websites of a number of media defendants was potentially infringing – even though the photo was not copied… 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

The Super Bowl is Over – Let’s Talk About the Olympics and Trademarks

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Programming Regulations, Trademark
Last month, we posted some updated guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly allude to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL.  “As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2018 Update”  Now, that is behind us… Continue Reading

SoundExchange to Audit Records of Streaming by Alpha Media, Music Choice, and Google

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Last week, the Copyright Royalty Board published a Federal Register Notice announcing that SoundExchange was auditing broadcaster Alpha Media as well as Music Choice and Google to assess their compliance with the statutory music licenses provided by Sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act for the public performance of sound recordings and ephemeral copies… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Decision Will Raise Royalties Paid to Songwriters and Publishers By Digital Music Services

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The amount paid to songwriters and publishing companies for the making of “phonorecords” will be going up after a Copyright Royalty Board decision just released to the parties to the case. A summary of the findings have been published on the CRB website, here. The new rules are available here. A full decision explaining the… Continue Reading

CRB Sets Rates for Public Performance Royalties for Noncommercial Broadcast Stations for Over-the-Air Broadcasting – Rejects GMR Claim for Royalties

Posted in Intellectual Property, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
The Copyright Royalty Board on Friday published in the Federal Register its decision setting the royalty rates that noncommercial broadcasters will pay to the performing rights organizations for the public performance of musical compositions in over-the-air broadcasting during the period 2018-2022.  The rates reflect settlements between ASCAP, BMI and SESAC and various organizations representing noncommercial… Continue Reading

The Government Is Closed, But the FCC Is Not – How Government Agencies Dealing with Media Issues are Handling the Shutdown

Posted in FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Trademark
As anyone who had turned on TV, listened to the radio, looked at the Internet or read a newspaper knows, the Federal government ran out of money at midnight on Friday, and news outlets are calling it a government shutdown.  But, unlike shutdowns in the past where all agencies closed their doors at the same… Continue Reading

As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2018 Update on Super Bowl Advertising and Promotions

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
For many years, we have posted guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly allude to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL. We are at that time of year again, so here is an updated version of our prior posts. The Super Bowl means big bucks. It is… Continue Reading

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Quarterly Issues Programs Lists and Children’s Television Reports, FM Translator Window, Main Studio Rule Change and Streaming Requirements

Posted in AM Radio, Children's Programming and Advertising, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Television
The holidays are over, and while the regulation never stops, it is time to once again buckle down and look at what is on the horizon for broadcasters. While, in the next few days, we will have our typical look ahead at the broadcast regulatory agenda in Washington for the New Year, we also need… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Extends Comment Dates on Proceeding Looking at MVPD Reporting Obligations and the Definition of Cable System

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
Recently, we wrote about a proceeding initiated by the Copyright Office to review the reporting obligations of cable and satellite television systems related to the statutory license that permits those systems to carry the programming of local television stations.  Systems must report information including revenue and subscriber information that allow royalties to be computed.  This… 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

Copyright Royalty Board News – Sirius XM Rates Going Up, Some Cable Radio Rates Going Down, and Webcasting Rate Appeal to Be Argued in February

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The Copyright Royalty Board issued a notice yesterday, here, that summarized its decision on the sound recording performance royalties for 2018-2022 to be paid by Satellite Radio and “Pre-existing Subscription Services” (“PSS”), essentially Music Choice for its music service usually packaged with cable television subscriptions. The terms associated with the new rates, embodied in the… Continue Reading

What is a Cable System – The Copyright Office Wants to Know

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
Early this month, the Copyright Office released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking dealing with two separate but related issues. First, it asks for comments on certain changes in the reporting that cable systems and satellite TV operators provide to the Copyright Office on the programming that they carry – information that is used to provide… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Issues Reminder About Need for Services Seeking Safe Harbor for User-Generated Content Under Section 512 to File in Electronic System by December 31

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Website Issues
The Copyright Office yesterday issued a “Final Reminder” to Internet Services that want to be able to assert that they are insulated from Copyright liability for content posted on their sites by third-parties.  Services need to be sure that they have used the Copyright Office’s new online system to the register the names of their… 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

December Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO, TV and Translator Filing Windows, Ancillary Revenue Reports, Main Studio Rule Effective Date, Copyright Office Take-Down Notice Registration and More

Posted in AM Radio, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
While the end of the year is just about upon us, that does not mean that broadcasters can ignore the regulatory world and celebrate the holidays all through December. In fact, this will be a busy regulatory month, as witnessed by the list of issues that we wrote about yesterday to be considered at the… 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

Reminder: Electronic Registration of Designated Agent for DMCA Safe-Harbor Take-Down Notices Due at Copyright Office by December 31

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Website Issues
The Copyright Office yesterday issued a reminder, here, that their electronic system for “designated agents” of Internet service providers – those who are to receive notice of any claimed infringing content posted on a service provider’s site – is active and all services must register in that system by December 31 for such registrations to… 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