soundexchange royalties

The Copyright Royalty Board has published in the Federal Register a correction to its notice announcing the commencement of the next proceeding to set rates for the royalties paid by webcasters (including broadcasters who stream their music through the internet) to SoundExchange for the public performance of sound recordings in the period 2026-2030.  The correction is to the date by which interested parties must file a petition to participate – setting that date as February 5, 2024, not February 6 as originally stated.  Thus, interested parties have a deadline one day earlier than previously announced.  We wrote more about that proceeding here.

The CRB also published in the Federal Register a notice announcing that it would be auditing five broadcast companies who are streaming their signals 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 made in the digital transmission process by commercial webcasters. Another audit notice has gone out to a company called RFC Media, which is both a webcaster and a Business Establishment Service whose royalties are exclusively paid under Section 112 of the statute (see our article here about the CRB-set royalties for these services that provide music played in various food and retail establishments and other businesses).Continue Reading Copyright Royalty Board Issues Correction of Deadline to File Petitions to Participate in New Proceeding to Set Webcasting Royalty Rates for 2026-2030, and Issues Notices of Audits of Webcasters

Expecting quiet weeks, we took the holidays off from providing our weekly summary of regulatory actions of interest to broadcasters.  But, during that period, there actually were many regulatory developments.  Here are some of those developments, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past two weeks, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

In Federal Register notices published this week, the Copyright Royalty Board announced cost-of-living increases for two sets of music royalties.  Webcasters, including broadcasters streaming their signals on the web or through mobile apps, will be paying more to SoundExchange for the public performance of sound recordings.  In addition, noncommercial broadcasters affiliated with educational institutions, but not affiliated with NPR or CPB, will be paying more to SESAC and GMR for their over-the-air broadcasts.  These changes go into effect on January 1, 2024.  More information about each of these royalties is set out below. 

The webcasting royalties that are increasing are those that are paid to SoundExchange by those webcasters making “noninteractive digital transmissions” of sound recordings (see our article here on the difference between interactive and noninteractive transmissions).  This includes broadcasters who simulcast their over-the-air programming on the internet or through mobile apps (or through other digital means including smart speakers like Alexa, see our article here).  The notice just published in the Federal Register sets out the computations that the Board used to determine the amount of the cost-of-living increase.  Those computations led to a royalty rate for 2024 of $.0025 per performance for services that do not charge a subscription fee. A performance is one song played to one listener – so for one song paid to four listeners one time each, a webcaster pays a penny. For subscription services, the rate will be $.0031 per performance.  This represents an increase from the 2023 rates of $.0024 for nonsubscription performances and $.0030 per performance for subscription stream. Continue Reading Cost of Living Increases Announced for Music Royalties Paid by Webcasters to SoundExchange and by Noncommercial Broadcasters to SESAC and GMR

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a decision last week rejecting all of the appeals of the decision by the Copyright Royalty Board (“CRB”) setting the rates that noninteractive webcasters pay to SoundExchange for the digital public performance of sound recordings in the period 2021-2025 (see our article here on the 2021 CRB decision).  As detailed below, the Court rejected appeals from three parties, two that argued that the rates were set too high for specific classes of webcasters, and one from SoundExchange itself which argued that the rates should have been even higher.

As a reminder, the CRB rates apply to all companies who provide a non-interactive, internet-delivered steam of programming which includes recorded music or other audio content, including broadcasters who simulcast their over-the-air programming on the internet.  Congress established the process of setting rates through hearings by the CRB so that noninteractive webcasters would have access to all recorded and publicly released audio recordings without having to individually negotiate with each copyright holder (see our article here about the CRB’s responsibilities).  Services pay these “statutory royalties” to SoundExchange, observe certain requirements that limit how often particular recordings are played so as to not make the services a substitute for buying recordings or listening to them through on-demand services (which pay higher royalties negotiated directly with the copyright holder), and report to SoundExchange what they play.  SoundExchange collects the royalties and uses the reports of what the services played to distribute the royalties they collect.  One-half of the royalties collected go to the performers on the sound recording, and one-half to the copyright holders of the recording, usually the record labels that own the copyrights for sound recordings.Continue Reading Court Rejects Appeals of Copyright Royalty Board Decision on 2021-2025 Webcasting Royalties

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • On July 28, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion rejecting appeals

Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held an oral argument on the appeals of three

There are normally a host of regulatory obligations at the beginning of February, but because of technical issues with the FCC’s online public file and LMS systems, many February 1 dates, as well as some January regulatory deadlines, have been extended to late February.

Due to technical problems that affected FCC filings throughout the month of January, the FCC last week issued a Public Notice extending the deadlines for all filings in the FCC’s LMS or online public file systems that were due in late January and early February.  The new deadline for these filings is February 28, 2023.  This new deadline applies to TV license renewal applications (including the associated Equal Employment Opportunity Report (Form 2100, Schedule 396)) for television stations, LPTV stations, TV translators and Class A stations in New York and New Jersey (which had been due February 1); Annual Children’s Programming Reports (which had been due on January 30); and EEO Public File Reports for broadcast employment units with 5 or more full-time employees in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma (reports that normally would have had to have been uploaded to a station’s public file by February 1).  Quarterly Issues Programs lists for all broadcast stations had been due to be uploaded to the public file by January 10, but that date was initially extended until January 31, and the deadline has now been further extended to February 28 by last week’s Public Notice. Note that the Public Notice is broad, stating that any public file document due to be uploaded or any FCC application to be filed through LMS must be filed by February 28.  Notwithstanding the extension, licensees should not wait until the last minute to upload documents, as the intermittent problems that have plagued the systems could persist for some time and make meeting even the extended deadline problematic, especially if you wait for the last minute to try to file.  For more details about the extension and about other technical issues with the FCC’s filing systems, see the article we recently published on this subject. 

February 28 is the deadline by which EAS participants must file their EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form One.  Filing instructions are provided in the Public Notice issued by the FCC earlier this month (see also our articles here and here).  All EAS Participants – including Low Power FM stations (LPFM), Class D non-commercial educational FM stations, and EAS Participants that are silent pursuant to a grant of Special Temporary Authority – are required to register and file in ETRS, with the following exceptions:  Analog and digital low power television (LPTV) stations that operate as television broadcast translator stations, FM broadcast booster stations and FM translator stations that entirely rebroadcast the programming of other local FM broadcast stations, and analog and digital broadcast stations that operate as satellites or repeaters of a hub station (or common studio or control point if there is no hub station) and rebroadcast 100 percent of the programming of the hub station (or common studio or control point) are not required to register and file in ETRS.  Carefully read the Public Notice and the form to make sure that all necessary information is properly uploaded.Continue Reading February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters – Renewal Applications, EEO Reports, Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, Children’s Programming Reports, Copyright Fees for Webcasters, ETRS Form One, and More

The new year brings a series of regulatory deadlines in January and a February 1 license renewal deadline that broadcasters should take note of.  As in 2022, the FCC will remain vigilant in making sure that its deadlines are met, so the following items should not be overlooked or left until the last minute.

The

In a very busy week, here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.

  • The Federal Trade Commission and seven state Attorneys General announced a settlement with Google LLC and iHeart Media, Inc. over allegations that iHeart radio stations aired thousands of deceptive endorsements for Google Pixel 4 phones by radio personalities who had never used the phone.  The FTC’s complaint alleges that in 2019, Google hired iHeart and 11 other radio broadcast companies to have their on-air personalities record and broadcast endorsements of the Pixel 4 phone, but did not provide the on-air personalities with the phone that they were endorsing.  Google provided scripts for the on-air personalities to record, which included lines such as “It’s my favorite phone camera out there” and “I’ve been taking studio-like photos of everything,” despite these DJs never having used the phone.  The deceptive endorsements aired over 28,000 times across ten major markets from October 2019 to March 2020.  As part of the settlement, subject to approval by the courts, Google will pay approximately $9 million and iHeart will pay approximately $400,000 to the states that were part of the agreement.  The settlement also imposes substantial paperwork and administrative burdens by requiring both companies to submit annual compliance reports for a period of years (10 years in the case of iHeart), and create and retain financial and other records (in the case of iHeart, the records must be created for a period of ten years and retained for five years).
    • This case is a reminder that stations must ensure that their on-air talent have at least some familiarity with any product they endorse, particularly where on-air scripts suggest that they have actually used the product.  Stations should not assume that talent know the relevant rules – they more likely will just read whatever is handed to them without understanding the potential legal risk for the station, which, as demonstrated in this case, could be significant.

Continue Reading This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: November 26 to December 2 , 2022