reports of use of sound recordings

The Copyright Royalty Board has ordered that most digital music services provide "census reporting" of all songs played by their service, along with other information including the number of listeners who heard each song each time it was played.  The decision, published in the Federal Register today, is a follow up to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about which we wrote here, proposing this new permanent rule to replace the interim requirements that required that digital music services provide that information for two weeks each quarter.  The only exception to the new obligation was for "small broadcasters" – i.e. those broadcasters who are only obligated to pay the minimum $500 annual royalty. These small broadcasters will continue to report on the songs that they play for only two weeks each quarter.

The new general rule requiring census reporting applies to all digital music services that pay royalties to SoundExchange for the public performance of sound recordings. However, the obligations set out in this general rule do not replace different rules that may be contained in settlement agreements entered into between services and SoundExchange.  Settlements with recordkeeping exemptions include the broadcaster settlement (summarized here), which give stations the ability to exclude some of their tuning hours from the census reporting requirements that were included in that settlement, and the noncommercial settlement agreements summarized here.  The CRB decision also excludes those services where per performance reporting is not possible (such as satellite radio services where there is no easy way to count performances). 


Continue Reading Copyright Royalty Board Requires Census Reporting for All Webcasters Except for Small Broadcasters

 Just when you think that the year will come to a quiet end, something always seems to pop up.  Today, the Copyright Royalty Board announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would change the reporting requirements for services that pay royalties for the use of sound recordings to SoundExchange.  The proposed new rules would require that Reports of Use submitted by services relying on the statutory royalty contain "full census reporting" of all songs played by any service.  Services would include all users of music who pay royalties due under Sections 112 or 114 of the Copyright Act – including Internet Radio, satellite radio, digital cable radio, digitally transmitted business establishment services, and radio-like services delivered by other digital means, including deliveries to cell phones. This reporting requirement would replace the current system, about which we wrote here, that only requires reporting for two weeks each quarter.  Under the new rules, an Internet radio service would have to submit the name of every song that they play to SoundExchange, along with information as to how many times that song played, the name of the featured artist, and either the recording’s ISRC code or both the album title and label.  Comments on this proposal are due by January 29.

Currently, the quarterly reports are filed electronically using an ASCII format and using either an Excel or Quattro Pro spreadsheet template as created by SoundExchange.  The Board asks for comments as to whether there are technological impediments to providing this information in this manner, and if other changes should be made to more easily facilitate the delivery of this information.  The Copyright Royalty Judges who make up the CRB expressed their opinion that the full census reporting is preferable to the limited information now provided, so that SoundExchange does not need to rely on estimates or projections to insure that all artists are fairly compensated when their works are played.  Using census reporting, all artists can be paid based on how often their songs are actually played.


Continue Reading Copyright Royalty Board Proposes Full “Census” Reporting for Services Paying Royalties to SoundExchange