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Category Archives: Music Rights

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Music in Podcasts – Reminder that ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange Licenses Don’t Cover Music Use in Podcasts

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
I was recently interviewed by Steve Goldstein of Amplifi Media, a firm that consults for podcast companies, on the difficulties with the use of music in podcasts. That interview has been turned into an article on Steve’s blog, here, discussing these legal issues. That article discusses the same issues that we’ve written about here several… Continue Reading

SoundExchange Acquires CMRRA – What Does it Mean for Music Licensing?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
This week SoundExchange, the non-profit rights organization that collects the royalties paid by digital music companies for the public performance in the United States of sound recordings, announced that it had acquired CMRRA (the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency, Ltd). CMRRA licenses the reproduction rights to musical works in Canada. As we have written before,… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Announces Additional Webcaster Audit by SoundExchange – Reminder to Carefully Maintain Your Royalty Records as They Can be Reviewed at Any Time

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
In the Federal Register last week was a notice that SoundExchange intends to audit the royalty payments of Pandora for its Internet radio service. As we wrote at the beginning of the year, SoundExchange routinely decides to audit representative companies in various segments of the digital music industry. In January, for instance, they issued notices… Continue Reading

Update: Bill to Make Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointee Approved by House of Representatives

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
We wrote here about the Congressional proposal to make the Register of Copyrights a Presidential appointee subject to Congressional approval, rather than a selection of the Librarian of Congress. That bill, HR-1695 (an updated version of which is available here), despite some expressed concerns from certain advocacy groups about the potentially making that position more… 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