With the National Association of Broadcasters big convention coming up next week in Las Vegas, this week we’ll look at a couple of the issues that will likely be discussed when the industry gathers for its annual reunion. On Sunday, before most of the NAB Show begins, the Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN) will be holding its RAIN Summit West , where I will be moderating a panel called The Song Plays On – which will focus on the music royalties paid by Internet Radio and other digital music services. We’ll not focus on what the current royalties are, but instead to try to explore what they could be in the future. This is really one of the most difficult issues in the industry, as the two sides (and really there are many more than two sides to this issue) come at the issue from far different perspectives. We will try to bridge those differences and explore where there might be common ground for music users and copyright holders to come together to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions to this thorny issue. The Internet Radio Fairness Act introduced in Congress last year brought this issue into sharp focus. That Act sought to bring about a number of reforms in the way that the Copyright Royalty Board sets various music royalties – particularly the rates that apply to Internet radio stations. We wrote about the provisions of the bill dealing with Internet radio royalties soon after the bill was introduced. After that article, there was a Congressional hearing on the issue, and lots of debate before the bill died at the end of the year as the session of Congress expired. This year, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee has promised a number of hearings on all aspects of music and audio copyright issues, though none have yet been scheduled. But the debate about IRFA last year illustrated the divide between the various sides in the music royalty debate. As soon as IRFA was introduced, DC players started to choose up sides – with Internet radio operators, the Consumer Electronic Association, and others supporting the Act, and most record labels and artists opposing it. The opposition also recruited some unlikely supporters, including the NAACP, the National Music Publishers Association and Grover Norquist of the “no tax increase” pledge fame. Why do these groups oppose the act – whose principal purpose is to make the decisions as to royalties for Internet radio the same standard (the 801b standard about which we wrote here ) as that used to determine the royalties for other digital music services (such as Sirius XM ) subject to a statutory royalty? As noted in these pages before, I represent Internet radio companies on royalty issues, so I want that potential bias to be on the table as I explore the differences in positions in this article.
Posts Tagged ‘new-york’
Why the Differing Perceptions of the Value of Music by Digital Music Services and Copyright Holders Make Royalty Decisions So Hard
It’s time for our annual April Fools Day warning – be careful with on air pranks prepared especially for the day. This year, with the tragedy caused by the Australian morning show hosts calling the nurse for the Duchess of Cambridge, broadcasters have an example of what can happen when an on-air prank goes wrong. Where harm is caused, lawsuits may follow, and stations could become a target if someone is hurt as a result of a station’s broadcasts. But not only do stations need to worry about potential civil liability in a case like this, the FCC itself has a rule against on-air hoaxes – and, of any day in the year, April 1 is the day that the broadcaster is most at risk. The FCC’s rule against broadcast hoaxes, Section 73.1217 , prevents stations from running any information about a “crime or catastrophe” on the air, if the broadcaster (1) knows the information to be false, (2) it is reasonably foreseeable that the broadcast of the material will cause substantial public harm and (3) public harm is in fact caused.
Noncommercial Radio Operator Fined $10,000 for Not Providing Immediate Access to Public File – FCC Provides A Good Primer on the Public File Rules for…
The FCC proposed that a noncommercial broadcaster be fined $10,000 for its failure to allow a visitor unquestioned and immediate access to the public inspection files for 6 noncommercial radio stations operated from the same main studio. Though the delay in allowing access was only a few hours long, that delay, together with questions asked of the person who requested access as to his reasons for the inspections, led to the Notice of Apparent Liability issued by the FCC. In the decision, the Commission reminded all broadcasters that their obligation is to make the file available immediately upon a request made during normal business hours. The person inspecting the file cannot be asked why they want to see the file, or for their business or professional affiliation. In this case, an individual apparently representing a competing broadcaster showed up at the station at about 10:30 in the morning. While it was disputed as to whether the individual immediately asked the receptionist to see the public file, or whether he simply asked to talk to the general manager of the station, the Commission found that both parties agreed that, when the general manager was reached by phone, the individual did ask to see the file.
April FCC Obligations for Broadcasters – Renewals, EEO, Quarterly Issues Programs Lists, Captioning of Live or Near-Live Online Programming, FM…
April is one of those months in which many FCC obligations are triggered for broadcasters. There are the normal obligations, like the Quarterly Issues Programs lists , that need to be in the public file of all broadcast stations, radio and TV, commercial and noncommercial, by April 10 . Quarterly Children’s television reports are due to be submitted by TV stations. And there are renewal obligations for stations in many states, as well as EEO Public File Reports that are due to be placed in station’s public files and on their websites. The end of March also brings the obligation for television broadcasters to start captioning live and near-live programming that is captioned on air, and then rebroadcast on the Internet . Finally, there are comment deadlines on the FCC’s proposal to relax the foreign ownership limits , and an FM auction and continuing FM translator filing requirements.
This past week, both FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Robert McDowell have announced that they are leaving the FCC in the near future.