Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Tag Archives: Intellectual Property

The Courts Continue To Split on Streaming TV Services – As Boston Court Denies TV Broadcasters Request for an Injunction Against Aereo

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media
The battle over services that record and stream over-the-air TV without compensation to TV broadcasters has become even more confusing, with a US District Court judge in Boston denying an injunction to stop the Aereo service in Massachusetts in a suit brought by Hearst Corporation, which owns a local TV station. This decision comes on the… Continue Reading

Comments Sought on Commerce Department Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy – Including Issues of User Generated Content and Appropriate Damages for Copyright Infringement

Posted in Intellectual Property, On Line Media
We wrote about the Department of Commerce’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy that was released back in July. While our article principally addressed the music issues raised by the Green Paper, many other issues were discussed in its 120 pages. The questions raised by the Aereo case (about which we… Continue Reading

Congressman Watt’s Music Royalty Bill – Performance Royalty For Over-the-Air Broadcasters And Other Fundamental Copyright Act Changes Impacting All Digital Music Services

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Congressman Mel Watt from North Carolina this week introduced his long-awaited bill proposing that over-the-air radio broadcasters pay a royalty to sound recording copyright holders (usually the record label) and to artists. As we have written many times, currently, royalties on sound recordings are paid only by companies that make digital performances, including webcasters (see our… Continue Reading

DC Court Issues Injunction Against FilmOn X for Its Aereo-Like TV-Streaming Service – Increasing Legal Confusion Over TV Public Performance Rights

Posted in Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, On Line Media, Television
The US District Court in Washington DC issued a decision earlier this month, enjoining the operation of the television streaming service FilmOn X throughout the United States – except within the Second Circuit (covering NY) where the US Court of Appeals reached a contrary decision in connection with Aereo – a very similar service. Both of these… Continue Reading

Making Music Rights Manageable in a Digital World – Issues Identified In Commerce Department “Green Paper” on Copyright Policy

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
No one ever claimed that music royalties are easy to understand, especially in the digital age when nice, neat definitions that had grown up over many years in the physical world no longer necessarily make sense. The complexity of the world of digital music licensing is clear from many sources, but the Commerce Department’s “Green Paper”… Continue Reading

Flo and Eddie Use State Laws on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings to Target Certain Sirius XM Services

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, Website Issues
In a lawsuit filed last week (see the complaint here), Flo and Eddie, the artists who were behind the 1960’s band The Turtles, claim that Sirius XM has infringed on the copyrights in their songs by allowing copies of these recordings to be made by the satellite radio service and in certain Internet offerings that… Continue Reading

Using Music in Radio or TV Productions – Why ASCAP, BMI and SESAC Licenses Usually Are Not Enough

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
Using music in commercials and other broadcast station productions can be treacherous. As we’ve written before, contrary to what some stations might think (based on the questions we often get from broadcasters around the country), a station’s ASCAP, BMI and SESAC royalties do not give them the right to use popular music in their station… Continue Reading

Apple Announces an Internet Radio Offering and Pandora Buys a “Real” Radio Station – What Does It Mean for Music Royalties?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights, On Line Media
In one week this month, Apple announced that it will get into Internet Radio, and Pandora, the biggest player in that space, announced that it will be buying a traditional, over-the-air radio station. What do these two big announcements say about the state of music royalties for digital music services? Apple’s struggles to get its service… Continue Reading

Register of Copyrights Maria Pallente Calls for Comprehensive Copyright Reform to Adapt to the Digital World – What Is Being Proposed?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, On Line Media, Website Issues
The Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, has made a series of speeches about the need to modernize Copyright, including offering testimony before Congress on the matter.  Her comments are but one sign that modernizing the Copyright Act has become the new catch-phrase in Washington. As the Courts have over the last few months wrestled with a host… Continue Reading

Changes at the Copyright Royalty Board – Two New Judges Make for an All-New Board for the Upcoming Internet Radio Royalty Rate Setting Proceeding

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, On Line Media
The Librarian of Congress has announced the appointment of two new judges to the Copyright Royalty Board – marking a total change in the three judge board since the decision in the last webcasting royalty case (about which we wrote here). The two new judges are David Strickler and Jesse Feder. Mr. Strickler will serve through 2016,… Continue Reading

How a NY State Court Decision on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Clouds the Safe Harbor Protections of Websites Featuring User Generated Content

Posted in Intellectual Property, Music Rights, On Line Media, Website Issues
This week, the Chairman of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee issued a press release stating that he intends that the Committee do a thorough reexamination of the Copyright Act, noting that new technologies stemming from digital media have upset many settled expectations in Copyright Law, and confused many issues. That this release was issued… Continue Reading

Aereo Court Decision Permits Internet Streaming of TV Programs Without Royalties – Undermining the Public Performance Right?

Posted in Cable Carriage, Digital Television, Intellectual Property, Internet Video, Music Rights, On Line Media, Television, Website Issues
We’ve written extensively about copyright issues for audio services, but the big copyright decision that recently made headlines is a TV issue, though one that could have an impact on audio as well. That was the Second Circuit decision in the Aereo case – upholding a lower court decision allowing a company to retransmit over-the-air TV signals… Continue Reading

Why the Differing Perceptions of the Value of Music by Digital Music Services and Copyright Holders Make Royalty Decisions So Hard

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
With the National Association of Broadcasters big convention coming up next week in Las Vegas, this week we’ll look at a couple of the issues that will likely be discussed when the industry gathers for its annual reunion. On Sunday, before most of the NAB Show begins, the Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN) will be holding… Continue Reading

March Madness is A Trademarked Term Like the “Super Bowl” – Watch Your Advertising and Promotional Uses

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
We’ve written many times before about those big name events, like March Madness, the Olympics and the Super Bowl. Events that you and your advertisers are just dying to tie into your own local event – a sale, a party or maybe the introduction of some special new product or service. Well, like the Super Bowl, March Madness… Continue Reading

More Patent Issues for Media Companies – Mission Abstract Data Patent Asserted in Law Suits Against 4 Radio Broadcasters, and a New Patent Claim Raised Against Podcasters, Including Public Broadcasters

Posted in Intellectual Property, Noncommercial Broadcasting, On Line Media, Website Issues
In the digital world, it seems that everything is reinvented, and someone claims that they have a patent on that reinvention. In the last few weeks, we have seen news about patent claims asserted against radio broadcasters for their digital music storage systems, against public broadcasters for podcasts, and even against companies trying to comply with… Continue Reading

Pandora Enters Settlement to Pay For Public Performance of Sony/ATV Musical Works – What’s Its Impact on Licensing for Music Services and Rights Holders?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
Deciding how to pay music royalties has always been difficult – trying to figure out what permissions are necessary, who has the rights to grant such permission, and how much the rights will cost. The one place where the rights were fairly simple – paying for the right to publicly perform musical compositions – may be… Continue Reading

Advertisers Beware – Remember That “Super Bowl” is a Protected Trademark That Can’t Be Used in a Commercial Without Permission

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
With the league championship match-ups set, and the Super Bowl only 3 weeks away, broadcasters are once again getting ready for the onslaught of advertising opportunities that come with the big game. But, as we write every year at this time, broadcasters need to be extremely careful in using the term "Super Bowl" in any advertising… Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Oral Argument on Sirius XM SoundExchange Royalties – A View of the Application of the 801(b) Standard Proposed for Internet Radio

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The royalties that Sirius XM will pay to SoundExchange for the next 5 years will be decided by the Copyright Royalty Board ("CRB") in December. To summarize the hearings that have been held over the last year, the CRB held an oral argument last week, where Sirius XM and SoundExchange presented their arguments as to what those… Continue Reading

RMLC Files Antitrust Suit Against SESAC – What Does It Mean For Broadcasters?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Last week, the Radio Music License Committee (“RMLC” – see our article about the RMLC), filed a complaint in US District Court in Pennsylvania against SESAC, arguing that SESAC is a monopoly and should be treated like ASCAP and BMI.  RMLC is asking that SESAC be subject to an antitrust consent decree as are these two bigger collection societies. As… Continue Reading

Chaffetz Bill Introduced in House of Representatives to Adopt 801(b) Standard for Internet Radio Royalty Decisions of Copyright Royalty Board – What’s It All About?

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Radio, Music Rights
The recent introduction of a bill by Congressman Jason Chaffetz offers proposals for reform of the operations of the Copyright Royalty Board – reforms that many in the Internet Radio industry have hailed as promising real change in the way that royalty decisions for webcasters have been made. While some webcasters seem to think that relief is… Continue Reading

The Olympic Trademark Reminder – Be Careful Using The Names of Big Events Without Permission

Posted in Intellectual Property
I was fortunate enough to spend some time earlier this month in London, at the Olympics. While there, I noticed just how closely the Olympic venues were guarding against any advertising from any non-official Olympic sponsors. This article from the AP notes how even the restroom fixtures had tape covering all brand names to prevent the manufacturers… Continue Reading

What is the RMLC, And Why Should a Radio Station Pay Their Bill?

Posted in Broadcast Performance Royalty, Intellectual Property, Music Rights
Radio broadcasters have been receiving invoices from the Radio Music License Committee (“RMLC”), and many are asking whether the invoice is “real.”  Some stations seem concerned that they are being asked to pay some fee that they really don’t owe. The truth is that this is one bill that most commercial stations in fact do owe, and it is… Continue Reading

MARCH MADNESS: An Unusual Case of Reverse Confusion

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
As we wrote about last year around this time, MARCH MADNESS is a term that is protected by trademark law.  It is owned by the March Madness Athletic Association (MMAA), a joint venture between the NCAA and the Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA).   The IHSA was actually first to begin using this mark to describe its high school basketball… Continue Reading