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 sets webcasting royalty rates through December 31, 2020), the full text of that decision has made it into the Federal Register.
If you care about those rates – and there are plenty of you out there who do – you probably read my earlier post, found out what you wanted to know (I’m guessing it was “How much will I be paying?) and haven’t thought much about the CRB’s decision since. In fact, the CRB itself took until March to get all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed in its Determination, the nitty-gritty contents of which tend to be interesting only to true insiders (mainly those so inside that they were part of the CRB proceeding to begin with).
But for those true insiders, the Federal Register publication of the decision is important, because it starts the 30-day clock for filing an appeal of the CRB decision with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. And you’ve got to figure that at least one or another party may be thinking along the appellate line. (One potential candidate: SoundExchange, the designated “receiving agent” who collects and disburses royalties under the statutory license. It’s anybody’s guess whether they’ll appeal, but if you’re trying to decide how to handicap this for your office pool, bear in mind that SoundExchange already unsuccessfully sought rehearing of the Webcasting IV decision at the CRB itself, so we know for sure that there was at least something in the decision they didn’t like.)
But before you get your heart set on tossing in an appeal of your own, bear in mind that, in general, you won’t be able to do so unless you are an “aggrieved participant in the proceeding…who fully participated in the proceeding and who would be bound by the determination”. That narrows the field considerably, which may free up a lot of time for the rest of you – time you could spend carefully reading all 370 pages of the CRB’s Webcasting IV Determination.