Texas Association of Broadcasters

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 with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for public performance licenses for “musical works” or “musical compositions” – the underlying words and music to any song. In our discussion, there was a general summary of the licenses needed for the use of music by broadcasters, a summary of the status of some of the current royalty negotiations, and questions about other issues in music licensing. As this discussion raised a number of issues that I have covered in articles posted on this blog, I thought that it might be worth highlighting some of that past coverage so that those interested in any topic can read a bit more on these subjects.

The TV industry seems to have far fewer issues than radio, perhaps because radio is so much more music-dependent. While there is music in many TV programs, some of it is cleared (i.e. licenses have been negotiated) by the program providers (including some networks), so that stations need only worry about licenses for programming where the music has not been pre-cleared. Thus, TV stations have alternatives of blanket licenses for all programming (principally used by affiliates of networks where music has not been pre-cleared) or per-program fees where stations pay for music only in programs or program segments where music has not been licensed by the program suppliers.
Continue Reading Looking at Music Royalty Issues for Radio and TV Broadcasters

While this summer has perhaps not brought the big headlines in trade press about copyright issues involving broadcasters – particularly in the area of music rights – there still are many issues that are active. I addressed some of those issues in a presentation earlier this month at the Texas Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention. I did my presentation in conjunction with a representative of SoundExchange, where he covered the nuts and bolts of the obligations of broadcasters and webcasters to file royalties for the noninteractive digital performance of sound recordings (e.g. webcasting and Internet radio). While the rates for 2016-2020 are on appeal (see our articles here, here and here), these rates are effective pending appeal and webcasters need to be paying under them. In the Texas presentation, I covered some of the many other copyright issues that are on the horizon, many of which we have written about in the pages of this blog. The slides from my presentation are available here. They provide an outline of many of the pending matters.

The presentation covered the controversy about the Department of Justice decision on the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees, about which I wrote about here. That controversy continues, as the PROs seek judicial or legislative relief from the new DOJ requirement for 100 per cent licensing of split works (see my article for an explanation of what that means). In the interim, the radio industry is negotiating new royalties with both of these organizations, as the current license agreements expire at the end of this year (see our article here).
Continue Reading What’s Up With Music Rights for Broadcasters and Webcasters? – A Presentation on Pending Issues

This past weekend saw the passing of one of the great advocates for broadcasters in the last few decades – Ann Arnold, the President of the Texas Association of Broadcasters. Ann has headed the TAB for over 20 years, in the process making it one of the premier state broadcast associations. But Ann was more than just an association head – she also was a fierce defender of broadcasters and the service they provide to their listeners. Under her leadership, the TAB has fought against governmental attempts to over-regulate broadcasters, while also being very aggressive in promoting the role of broadcasters in getting important information out to their communities. Ann had been a nationwide leader in efforts to improve the EAS system, recognizing that broadcasters needed a working system to alert their audiences to impending threats. The TAB also was a leader in promoting a journalist shield law, helping broadcasters and other news outlets to protect vital sources.

I worked with Ann for over 20 years, and consider her to be a true friend – one who will be missed both personally and professionally. She was a central presence at all TAB events, right up to the most recent TAB annual convention held in August in Austin. Ann was there from the early morning breakfasts to the late-evening banquets, always surrounded by people seeking counsel or just a hug and a smile – which Ann could always be counted on to provide. 


Continue Reading An Industry Giant Passes – Ann Arnold of the Texas Association of Broadcasters

Legal issues regarding privacy have long been an issue for broadcasters and other media companies.  Traditionally, privacy concerns for media companies have arisen in the context of news gathering, advertising or other on-air content that either was gathered in a way that intruded on someone’s privacy, or which used private facts or personal images, without consent, for commercial

Public performances, synch and master use licensing, sound recordings, musical compositions – what are all these terms, and how does a digital media company make sense of them and figure out where to go get permission to use music in their business?  These issues were discussed in a webinar that I did with my partner Rob Driscoll

I conducted a webinar on the FCC’s EEO rules for the Texas Association of Broadcasters on November 30, 2010.  In conducting the webinar, I reminded broadcasters of the many ways that their EEO compliance can be monitored by the FCC – either through EEO random audits, through mid-term EEO Reports on FCC Form 397 (which were filed

Dave Oxenford this week conducted a seminar on legal issues facing broadcasters in their digital media efforts.  The seminar was organized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, and originated before a group of broadcasters in Lansing, but was webcast live to broadcasters in ten other states.  Dave addressed a variety of legal issues for broadcasters in connection with their website operations and other digital media platforms.  These issues included a discussion of service marks and copyrights, employment matters, music on websites, the use of social media, privacy, and sponsorship disclosure.  The slides used in the Lansing presentation are available here.    During the seminar, Dave also mentioned that stations with websites featuring user-generated content, to help insulate themselves from copyright infringement that might occur in the content posted to their website by their audience, should take advantage of the registration with the Copyright Office that may provide safe harbor protection if a station follows the rules and takes down offending content when identified by a copyright holder.  The Copyright Office instructions for registration can be found here.   

One of the most common issues that arise with radio station websites is the streaming of their programming.  In August, Dave gave a presentation to the Texas Association of Broadcasters providing  a step-by-step guide to streaming issues, with a summary of the royalty rates paid by different types of streaming companies.  That summary to Internet Radio issues is available here.  Additional information about use of music on the Internet can be found in Davis Wright Tremaine’s Guide to The Basics of Music Licensing in a Digital Age.   Dave also presented this seminar at the Connecticut Broadcasters Association’s Annual Convention in Hartford on October 14.


Continue Reading David Oxenford Conducts Webinar for State Broadcast Associations on Legal Issues in the Digital Media World – Including a Discussion of Ephemeral Copies of Sound Recordings

Broadcasters have a host of other legal issues that they should consider in connection with their digital presence.  At last week’s Maine Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention in Bangor, Dave Oxenford addressed these issues, including service marks and copyrights, employment matters, music on websites, the use of social media, privacy and sponsorship disclosure.  A copy of Dave’s presentation on the Legal Issues

The 2010 political broadcasting season is almost upon us, with Texas leading the way.  With the first 2010 primaries on March 2, candidates in Texas are already in windows during which they need to file the paperwork to qualify for a place on the primary ballot.  Once they qualify for that ballot spot, they become "legally qualified candidates

On August 20, David Oxenford attended the Texas Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention in Austin Texas.  At the Convention, Dave participated with two other Washington attorneys in a session updating broadcasters on legal issues that could affect their operations.  He addressed topics including the proposed Broadcast Performance royalty, the proposed increase in power of HD radio operations