Archives: Intellectual Property

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Taking the Same Slant on the Lanham Act for the Second Time in Two Years, Supreme Court tells USPTO to Go Ask Congress to Try Again

Let’s get this out of the way: this blog post is going to include an unseemly, in my mind,  profane, even obscene, term.  I’m just going to put it out there up front, even though I think it’s one of the worst things you can say.  And no, the First Amendment doesn’t protect it. It’s … Continue Reading

ATTENTION OLDIES STATIONS (OR OTHERS WHO PLAY PRE-72 RECORDINGS): Think Twice Before You Pony Up Three Years of Royalties Under New MMA Provision

Remember our April 4, 2019 “CALLING ALL OLDIES STATIONS!” post that alerted you to a simple form you could file to receive certain protections from potentially crippling infringement awards for unauthorized uses of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 (aka “pre-72 recordings”)?  That post created quite a stir.  In fact, we were flooded with … Continue Reading

RMLC-GMR Continue to Fight (but Also Agree To Extend Interim License for Yet Another Six Months)

One of the most famous movie franchises ever is the “Rocky” series.  From its origin as an underdog story where an unknown fighter named Rocky Balboa shocks the world by taking heavyweight champion Apollo Creed the distance (spoiler alert: only to lose the fight but get the girl) through sequels II (Rocky Wins!), III (Mr. … Continue Reading

Webcaster Wake Up Call: The (Not Entirely) Shutdown Update

This is the promised follow up to our December 14, 2018 post regarding the compliance obligations for 2019 under the statutory licenses found in Sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act (the “statutory licenses”) allowing webcasters to make public performances sound recordings via digital audio transmission and to make related temporary copies of those … Continue Reading

Remember to Exercise Super Judgment When Discussing the Big Game

The matchup for the National Football League’s championship game, aka the “Super Bowl”, is set. The Los Angeles Rams will face the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 3 in Atlanta in a game that will be hard pressed to exceed either conference championship game in terms of excitement or controversy. Each of the NFC Championship, … Continue Reading

Webcaster Wake Up Call!

We usually publish our “Webcaster Wake Up Call!” post each January.  This post reminds webcasting services of their compliance obligations for the upcoming year under the statutory licenses found in Sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act (the “statutory licenses”) allowing them to publicly perform sound recordings via digital audio transmission.  Part of the … Continue Reading

Copyright Enters the Twilight Zone (A Series of Controversial Decisions May Not Be as Bad as They Seem: Part Two)

If you read the first part of this two-part post on some bizarre copyright decisions emanating from federal courts in 2018, you know I left you with a cliffhanger. Copyright law was seemingly turned on its head when a federal court judge in New York declared that embedding tweets with photos could be considered direct … Continue Reading

Copyright Enters the Twilight Zone (A Series of Controversial Decisions May Not Be All that They Seem: Part One)

[Editor’s Note:  This is the first of a two-part episode on three copyright decisions issued by federal courts in 2018 that relate to the use of photos in news reporting; the second part will be posted next week.] Picture for a moment a man. Not an ordinary man by any stretch. This man is Tom … Continue Reading

RMLC and GMR Agree to Extend Interim License for Another Six Months

We have been following the ongoing saga that is the dispute-turned-litigation between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR) since late 2016, providing several updates along the way. What started as an impasse between a main representative of commercial radio stations in the country on music licensing issues (the RMLC) and … Continue Reading

Attention Commercial Radio Stations: Upcoming Deadline for Eligible Stations to Receive Retroactive Refund of Certain SESAC License Fees

If you are a commercial radio station that authorized the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) to represent you in negotiations and litigation against SESAC, then you need to act quickly to receive the full fruits of the RMLC’s labor. Unless you return an executed copy of the RMLC-SESAC radio license to SESAC by March 26, … Continue Reading

Commercial Broadcasters March Toward a Second Extension of GMR Interim License

Over the past 14 months, we’ve kept our readers updated on the music licensing fight between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR). This, of course, started when the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on the terms of a license that would allow the commercial radio stations represented by the … Continue Reading

Rates to Perform Musical Compositions in 2018-2022 Published for Noncommercial Broadcasters

Attention, noncommercial educational (NCE, a/k/a “public”) broadcasters! If you have been wondering how much you’ll have to pay to broadcast musical compositions this year (and beyond), wonder no more. The rates for 2018 through 2022 were published in the Federal Register on January 19. For those new to the issue, these rates have been administered … Continue Reading

Shutdown Any Unauthorized Use of Trademarks

While many outside the nation’s capital were engrossed in this weekend’s football games, those inside the beltway were engrossed in their own local sport: politics (especially because D.C.’s team – who shall remain nameless even as that name may be trademarked – hasn’t played for the Lombardi trophy in 26 years). Specifically, “Shutdown” was THE … Continue Reading

‘Here Comes the Sun…’ Federal Magistrate Recommends that RMLC Lawsuit Against GMR be Moved to California

It was around this time last year that one of the most closely watched fights in music licensing history – if not copyright generally – went to the next level as the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) sued Global Music Rights (GMR). The RMLC lawsuit alleges that Irving Azoff-founded newest Performing Rights Organization (PRO), was … Continue Reading

Do You Know Where Your Domain Names Are?

At CommLawBlog, we follow domain name issues closely. Unlike lightning, we find two recurring problems striking regularly. These problematic issues are: the failure to renew domain names and a continuing tendency to register valuable domain names in someone else’s name. While both may seem innocuous, they can cause major problems down the line.  Let’s took … Continue Reading

Halloween Tricks for Flo & Eddie and Treats for SiriusXM

Florida Finds No Public Performance Right in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings   If you have been following the ongoing saga regarding the attempts of pre-1972 (aka “oldies”) sound recording owners to collect royalties when those recordings are performed, you will know that some recent key court rulings have been issued near major holidays. For example, New … Continue Reading

Limited Registration Period for .RADIO Domain Names Ends Oct.31, 2017 – The Time to Register Is Now!

Now until Oct. 31, 2017, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is offering a “Special Limited Registration Period” – a pre-launch opportunity for the registration of .RADIO domain names by radio broadcasters, radio professional, radio amateurs, Internet radios, and radio-related companies. Call letters, corporate names, on-air personality names, and even slogans can all be registered as … Continue Reading

Commercial Radio Stations Offered Opportunity to Extend Interim License with GMR

No sooner did we report an update on the dispute between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR), do we have another update to share.  Only this time, the update: (1) is less wonky/more practical, (2) is good news for commercial radio stations, and (3) requires action by affected stations.… Continue Reading

RMLC Seeks PI; Attempts to Stay in PA, Avoid CA

(As end of GMR Interim License Period Approaches, fight over GMR’s refusal to deal with Pennsylvania radio stations has implications for others around the country) We’ve written (and talked) plenty about the fight between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) – which represents the interests of the commercial radio industry in negotiating licenses with performing … Continue Reading

Independent Decisionmakers Reduce SESAC’s Commercial Radio License Rate by Tens of Millions of Dollars

(Stations will pay 60% less than old SESAC rate card) While the fight between the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR) has captured music licensing headlines in 2016 and 2017 (including here at Commlawblog), it has previously been RMLC v. SESAC which stole the show.  (Recall that until GMR came on … Continue Reading

Slants Supreme Court Case Slays Ban on Registration of Disparaging Trademarks

I am officially a big fan of The Slants.  I’ve never seen them in concert.  I don’t own any of their albums (I’ve never even downloaded any of their individual songs).  I’m actually still not entirely sure what “Chinatown Dance Rock” really is. But I will forever be indebted to Simon Shiao Tam and crew.  … Continue Reading

Countdown Clock Ticking on Digital Millennium Copyright Act Designated Agent Registrations

(Registered agent contact information must be ELECTRONICALLY filed with the Copyright Office by December 31, 2017) How much is peace of mind worth to you? Does $6.00 and less than an hour of your time sound about right? What if I told you that this alone would significantly reduce the likelihood that you will be … Continue Reading
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