Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Category Archives: Intellectual Property

Subscribe to Intellectual Property RSS Feed

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

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

12 Years of the Broadcast Law Blog – Where We Have Been and What We Are Looking at Next

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Television, Uncategorized, Website Issues
In 10 days, we’ll mark the 12th anniversary of my first post welcoming readers to this Blog.  I’d like to thank all of you who read the blog, and the many of you who have had nice words to say about its contents over the years.  In the dozen years that the blog has been… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Announces Proposed New SoundExchange Royalties for Business Establishment Services

Posted in Intellectual Property, Music Rights
While Copyright Royalty Board decisions on royalties for webcasters, Sirius XM and mechanical royalties get most of the attention, the CRB also sets rates paid by “business establishment services” for the “ephemeral copies” made in their music businesses. Business establishment services are the companies that provide music to businesses to play in retail stores, restaurants… 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

Senate to Hold Hearing on May 15 on Music Modernization Act

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
The week before last, we summarized the provisions of the Music Modernization Act as passed by the House of Representatives. The Senate is now poised to take up this legislation in a hearing scheduled by the Senate Judiciary Committee for next Tuesday, May 15. The legislation proposes, among other things, to set up a SoundExchange-like… Continue Reading

May Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – FCC Meeting, FM Translator and LPTV Filing Windows, Political Windows and More Consideration of Music Reforms

Posted in AM Radio, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FM Translators and LPFM, General FCC, Intellectual Property, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Music Rights, On Line Media, Political Broadcasting
May is one of those months where there are neither deadlines for EEO Public File Reports nor for any of the quarterly filings of issues/programs lists and children’s television reports. But the lack of these routine filing deadlines does not mean that there are no dates of interest in the coming month to broadcasters and… Continue Reading

House of Representatives Passes Music Modernization Act – Looking for Clarity on Mechanical Royalties, Pre-1972 Sound Recordings and Other Music Rights Issues

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
This week, the US House of Representatives passed the Music Modernization Act. While widely supported among many digital media companies providing on-demand subscription music services as well as by many in the music industry, the bill seemingly has not received the publicity that has been afforded to past music royalty legislation. That may be, in… 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

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