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Important for webcasters: Copyright Office extends deadline for comments on music licensing

This article by broadcast law attorney David Oxenford was originally published in his Broadcast Law Blog


copyright logo 200wOn Friday, the Copyright Office extended by one week the deadline for comments on its wide-ranging proceeding on the current music licensing regime and whether reforms are necessary or appropriate. We wrote about the proceeding and the many questions that it raises here. Comments are now due on May 23. Comments can be filed on the Copyright Office website, here.

In addition, the Copyright Office announced a series of three roundtable discussions to be held at different sites across the country – in Nashville, Los Angeles and New York. At these roundtables, stakeholders in the music industry and interested members of the public can address the issues raised in the Inquiry. Interested parties who want to be considered for guaranteed participation in the round table discussions need to sign up by May 20, using the form available here. At that same link, the discussion topics for these roundtables are set out – covering the broad range of music royalty and licensing issues raised in the Inquiry. Clearly, this is an important proceeding in which many in the music and media industries will want to participate – but it is just one of many proceedings that may affect the way that broadcasters and digital media services use music in the future.

There are so many proceedings and inquiries going on in the music world that parties should be careful to keep them all straight. We also recently wrote about a Copyright Royalty Board proceeding on recordkeeping for music royalties paid under the webcasting statutory license. Also, we wrote about the revised and updated CRB decision on webcasting royalties for 2011-2015, and the questions that it raises for the current proceeding to set royalties for 2016-2020. There was also the recent lawsuit to exempt broadcast simulcasts from sound recording royalties for Internet retransmissions within 150 miles of the station’s transmitter. There are various bills pending in Congress (see, for instance, our article here on the Songwriters Equity Act), as well as planned Congressional hearings on music royalty issues. And there is the Green Paper on Copyright initiated by the Commerce Department. These are just some of the important legal proceedings now ongoing that could shape music royalty issues for the future. Anyone involved in the industry needs to closely watch all of these proceedings to determine the potential impact on your business in the future.

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Brad Hill

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