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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Music Rights Suit by Radio Music License Committee Against GMR Moved to California Courts – No End in Sight?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
This week, the lawsuit brought by the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) against new performing rights organization GMR (Global Music Rights) for alleged violations of the antitrust laws was determined by a court in Pennsylvania to have been brought in the wrong place – and transferred to a court in California.  This case has been… Continue Reading

March Madness: Nothing but Net for Trademark Infringement Claims

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
Alternate Title: March Madness Trademarks: It’s March Spring and You Do Not Want to Make the NCAA Mad Angry at You As we have previously reported, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is very serious about taking action against anyone who may try to trade off the goodwill in its March Madness marks — even if… Continue Reading

ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees Under Review – How Performing Rights Organizations, Antitrust Policy and Statutory Licenses Could Create a Controversy

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media
In the last few weeks, the press has been buzzing with speculation that the Department of Justice is moving toward suggesting changes in the antitrust consent decrees that govern the operations of ASCAP and BMI.  Those consent decrees, which have been in place since the 1940s, among other things require that these Performing Rights Organizations… Continue Reading

GMR Interim Music License for Radio to be Extended – Yet Again

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, FM Radio, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
This week, 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

Copyright Royalty Board Announces Changes in Judges

Posted in Cable Carriage, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
With the Copyright Royalty Board now in the early stages of the next proceeding to consider webcasting royalties (see our article here) as well as other proceedings including the distribution of cable and satellite television royalties to TV programmers (see these CRB notices), the Chief Judge of the CRB, Suzanne Barnett, announced her retirement earlier… Continue Reading

February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – EEO Reports, Webcasting Proceeding, FCC Meeting and Other Issues

Posted in AM Radio, Broadcast Auctions, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Radio, General FCC, Incentive Auctions/Broadband Report, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Multiple Ownership Rules, Music Rights, Noncommercial Broadcasting
With the reopening of the Federal government (at least for the moment), regulatory deadlines should begin to flow in a more normal course.  All of those January dates that we wrote about here have been extended by an FCC Public Notice released yesterday until at least Wednesday, January 30 (except for the deadlines associated with… Continue Reading

Update:  Call for Petitions to Participate in WEB V Proceeding on Webcasting Royalties for 2021-2025 Published in Federal Register: Petitions to Participate Due February 4

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
Last week, we noted that the Copyright Royalty Board had a notice on its website saying that, because of the government shutdown, it could not publish its notice soliciting petitions to participate in WEB V, the case to set webcasting royalties paid to SoundExchange by noninteractive webcasters (including broadcasters who simulcast their programming on the… Continue Reading

As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2019 Update on Super Bowl Advertising and Promotions

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Trademark
For several 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. It’s that time of year again, so here is an updated version of our prior posts. The Super Bowl means big bucks. It is estimated… Continue Reading

Government Shutdown Delays Start of Webcasting Royalty Proceeding

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Update – January 24, 2019 – the notice seeking petitions to participate has been published in the Federal Register, setting a filing deadline of February 4, 2019.  See our article here for more details. In our summary of January regulatory issues for broadcasters, we suggested that the Copyright Royalty Board this month might start WEB… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Final Decision on Rates for Business Establishment Services

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
In one of those year-end decisions that got lost in the holiday rush, in late November, the Copyright Royalty Board issued its final ruling on the rates to be paid to SoundExchange by “business establishment services” for the ephemeral copies of sound recordings when these music services transmit programming to their customers. We wrote about… Continue Reading

January Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – The Shutdown Does Not Put Everything on Hold

Posted in Broadcast Auctions, Children's Programming and Advertising, EEO Compliance/Diversity, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Public Interest Obligations/Localism, Website Issues
We typically publish our article about upcoming regulatory dates before the beginning of each month, but this month, the looming FCC shutdown and determining its effect on filing deadlines pushed back our schedule. As we wrote on Friday, the effect of the shutdown is now becoming clear – and it has the potential to put… Continue Reading

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

Podcaster Sued for Copyright Infringement for Using Music without Permission – Remember ASCAP, BMI and SESAC Licenses Don’t Cover All the Rights Needed for Podcasting

Posted in Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Podcasting
It was news earlier this week when a company that promotes poker was sued by one of the major record labels and publishing companies for the use of music in podcasts without permission. As we have written before (see, for instance, our articles here and here), the use of music in podcasts requires a license… Continue Reading

Another Caution on Social Media – Be Careful What You Share

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Podcasting, Website Issues
Can retweeting or sharing someone else’s content get you into trouble? Possibly, based on news reports of a recently filed lawsuit seeking damages for defamation from a cable TV host who retweeted a twitter photo suggesting that someone has made racially derogatory comments. This case seems similar to the one about which we wrote here,… 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

Court of Appeals Upholds Copyright Royalty Board’s 2015 Webcasting Royalty Rate Decision

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The US Court of Appeals today released a decision upholding the Copyright Royalty Board’s 2015 decision setting the SoundExchange royalty rates for 2016-2020. We wrote about that decision here, and provided more details here. In any appeal of an agency decision, the Court routinely affords the agency deference in reaching its decision. The Court will… 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

More Podcast Legal Issues – Getting Releases From Interview Subjects

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Podcasting, Privacy
In recent weeks, I’ve written about my presentation at the Podcast Movement Convention on legal issues for broadcasters who are thinking about podcasting, and followed up with an article warning any company with employees or contractors creating podcasts or other digital media projects to be sure to clarify who owns the content that is created.… 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

More on the Need to Make Clear Who Owns Digital and Social Media Assets

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Podcasting, Website Issues
Last week, we wrote about legal issues for podcasters, and made the point that media companies should be making clear by contract or otherwise who owns the podcasts that their employees and independent contractors have created. This week, there was press coverage (see, for instance, the article here) about a law suit filed by a… Continue Reading

A Presentation on Legal Issues for Podcasters – Who Owns What?

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, On Line Media, Podcasting, Website Issues
Last week, I spoke at Podcast Movement 2018 – a large conference of podcasters held in Philadelphia. My presentation, Legal Issues In Podcasting – What Broadcasters Need to Know, was part of the Broadcasters Meet Podcasters Track. The slides from my presentation are available here. In the presentation, I discussed copyright issues, including some of the… Continue Reading

Hey, Alexa, How Are Your Affecting My Podcasting Music Royalty Obligations?

Posted in Appearances, Digital Radio, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Podcasting, Website Issues
Next Wednesday, July 25, I will be speaking at the Podcast Movement Conference in Philadelphia, as part of the Broadcasters Meet Podcasters Track, discussing legal issues that broadcasters need to consider as they move some of their content into podcasts. One of the topics that I will be discussing will be the music royalty obligations… Continue Reading