As webcasters head deeper into the music copyright rate-setting process, Pandora has appointed Steve Bené as its new general counsel. Bené joins the online radio service from Electronic Arts, where he held the same position and worked on negotiations with music and movie studios. In his role at Pandora, Bené will be a member of the company’s executive leadership team and will oversee all legal operations.
Those future legal operations will include several challenges related to copyright issues. The industry has seen a push by artists and labels to collect royalties on recordings made prior to 1972, when the U.S. Copyright Act took effect. The Turtles have already made Pandora a target, filing a class-action suit in an effort to collect damages for copyright infringement.
On a broader scale, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board is moving through its two-year lead-up to a new music royalty period, when a new set of royalty rates will take effect for 1016-2020. The process is a litigative one in which Pandora is deeply involved along with other webcasters and related industry groups.