Archives: Intellectual Property

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NAB Announces Waiver Agreements with Sony and Warner Affecting Non-Royalty Aspects of Webcasting

On October 26, 2016, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced agreements it had reached with two major record labels that relieve radio broadcasters from certain compliance conditions associated with the sound recording streaming statutory license that are inconsistent with traditional broadcasting practices.  They do not, however, alter radio broadcasters’ royalty payment obligations under the … Continue Reading

Redskins “Offensive” Line May be Tested by Supreme Court

By agreeing to hear “The Slants” case, Court may decide whether USPTO can cancel “Redskins” trademark registrations. [Blogmeister’s Note: To say our blogger, Kevin “The Swami” Goldberg, is opinionated is something of an understatement. One particular bug up his butt: the NFL team which is titularly Washington, D.C.’s, even though it practices in Virginia and … Continue Reading

ASNE “Legal Hotline” Features FHH’s Kevin Goldberg

News Editors’ website highlights post addressing permissible media use of “user-generated” photo/video content obtained from social media and other Internet sources. I’m fortunate to represent a number of press-related trade associations. As part of my work for them, I provide a “Legal Hotline” service through which association members get to ask me questions without incurring massive … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Judges Propose To Clarify Streaming Reporting Rules for Noncommercial Broadcasters

Proposed change would include noncommercial broadcasters among “Eligible Minimum Fee Webcasters.” It looks like noncommercial broadcasters who stream may be in for a little more clarity in their reporting responsibilities. The Copyright Royalty Judges (we’ll call them “Judges” here) have proposed to modify the rules governing how those broadcasters are supposed to report the sound … Continue Reading

DOJ Makes it Official: No Change to ASCAP/BMI Consent Decrees

Siding with music users, DOJ concludes that Decrees call for “full-work” – rather than “fractional” – music licensing; ASCAP and BMI head to court and Congress.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally closed its two-year-long review of the decades-old ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees. Those Decrees mandate federal court oversight of the rates … Continue Reading

Student Discount: FOIA “Educational Institution” Fee Exemption Available to Students

D.C. Circuit reverses longstanding – if illogical – policy of many agencies. The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its state equivalents remain a useful tool for anyone wishing to keep an eye on our governments’ activities. FOIA requests have led to the exposure of waste, fraud and abuse in government programs. Such revelations, … Continue Reading

Question: When is a Pre-1972 Recording Not a Pre-1972 Recording?

Answer: Unclear, but it could be more often that you might think. In the ongoing litigation over whether recording artists are entitled to performance right royalties for the public performance of pre-February 15, 1972 recordings, we have a new wrinkle. A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has … Continue Reading

Update: Deadline for Appeals of CRB’s Webcasting IV Decision Set

Back in December I reported on the Final Rule and Order adopted by the Copyright Royalty Board in its Webcasting IV proceeding (official name: “Determination of Royalty Rates and Terms for Ephemeral Recording and Webcasting Digital Performance of Sound Recordings”. And now, a mere four or five months after the CRB first announced its decision (which … Continue Reading

Webcaster Wake-Up Call! SoundExchange Reports and Payments Due Soon

Same as it ever was: as they start in on the next five-year period with new rates and terms announced in Webcasting IV, webcasters must again attend to annual SoundExchange homework. It’s been a month since I wrote about Webcasting IV, the decision of the Copyright Royalty Board that set webcasting rates and terms for … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit, “Slant”(ing) Toward “Redskins”?

Appeals court tosses “disparagement” bar against registration of “offensive” trademarks Last May, our colleague Kevin “the Swami” Goldberg called readers’ attention to an interesting case wending its way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It involves the rejection, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), of an application for federal … Continue Reading

Meanwhile, on the East Coast: D.C. Court Rejects FilmOn X Claim to Compulsory License

But District Court decision could be key to a return to the Supreme Court for Aereo-related issues FilmOn X’s fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. But for FilmOn X, that might not be a totally bad thing. Longtime readers will be familiar with FilmOn X, the Aereo doppelganger. When Aereo burst on the … Continue Reading

SESAC Seeks to Sidestep Settlement

Dueling letters from SESAC and RMLC offer distinct alternatives for radio stations in their dealings with SESAC As we reported several months ago, in July the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) reached a settlement agreement with SESAC that resolved RMLC’s antitrust lawsuit against SESAC and brought some measure of certainty and stability to the license … Continue Reading

Librarian of Congress (Who?) Okays Widespread Hacking of Electronic Devices

You can now unlock or get access to tablets, vehicle software, video games, and more – and stay within the law. Following congressional approval last year for the unlocking of cell phones, the Librarian of Congress has now adopted a broad exemption that permits the unlocking of all wireless handsets, including smart phones and “phablets.” … Continue Reading

Dancing Baby in the Ninth Circuit: A Twist on Takedowns

DMCA requires consideration of “fair use” before infringement can be alleged. Thanks to digital technology, copyright infringement is easier than ever – and the Internet provides a tempting place to display infringing uses of copyrighted material. Recognizing that, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), creating a simple mechanism by which copyright owners could … Continue Reading

Broadcasters Now in the Sights of Pre-1972 Performance Right Holders

Expanding “Flo and Eddie” theory beyond Sirius XM and Pandora, suits seek state-created performance rights royalties from broadcasters. For the last year or so I’ve reported on efforts being made by some recording artists and record labels to assert performance right interests in recordings made prior to February, 1972. (Why February, 1972? Take a minute … Continue Reading

FilmOn Takes a Big Step Closer to Section 111 Eligibility

Federal judge in California declares Aereo clone potentially eligible for compulsory copyright license. Sometimes, getting there first doesn’t mean that you’re the winner. Just look at Aereo, whose innovative technology was going to revolutionize the delivery of video programming. Although supposedly embraced by the consuming public, Aereo was sued for copyright infringement by lots of … Continue Reading

SESAC Suit Settled

Props to Bill Velez for striking a good deal for the radio industry! Bill Velez and the gang at the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) have struck again. Having targeted SESAC in an antitrust suit in 2012, they have now used the leverage of that suit to gain a settlement with SESAC that should prove … Continue Reading