Category Archives: Copyright

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Does FCC Repeal of Sports Blackout Rules Flag Trouble Ahead For Retrans Policy?

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Copyright, MVPD Regulation
The FCC has retired its sports blackout rules.  At its September 30, 2014 meeting, the FCC unanimously adopted an Order repealing the rules, which prohibit cable and satellite providers from carrying a sports event that is blacked out on a local broadcast station.  The rules are most often associated with the National Football League, which… Continue Reading

GAO Report Explains Sponsorship Identification Rules for Issue Ads Aired by Television and Radio Stations and Reaffirms Death of Fairness Doctrine

Posted in Advertising Issues, Broadcast Regulation, Copyright, First Amendment, GAO Reports, Political Broadcasting, Program Content, Spectrum
The General Accountability Office (“GAO”) has issued a report regarding the disclosure requirements that apply to, and broadcaster practices concerning, content that affects broadcasters’ interests and may be intended to influence Congress.  The GAO report responds to a request of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has supported legislation requiring radio stations to pay performance royalties… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Sides with Broadcasters, Holding that Aereo Internet TV Service Infringes Public Performance Copyright Rights

Posted in Copyright
In a significant win for broadcasters, today the Supreme Court of the United States declared (6-3) in a broadly-worded ruling that transmissions of television programs by the Aereo Internet television service are “public performances” that infringe copyright owners’ rights under the Copyright Act.  In American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. , the Court held that,… Continue Reading

DOJ Opens Review of ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees

Posted in Copyright, Music Licensing
The United States Department of Justice has opened a review of the consent decrees that govern the operation of the nation’s two largest music performing rights organizations (“PROs”), the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).  The Department is seeking public comments on the effectiveness, operation, and continued need… Continue Reading

Aereo Internet Television Service Shut Down in Tenth Circuit

Posted in Copyright, MVPD Regulation, Online Video
A Utah district court has issued an injunction halting Aereo’s operations in the Tenth Circuit until the U.S. Supreme Court tackles the copyright infringement issue later this spring in ABC v. Aereo.  The court also denied Aereo’s motion to transfer the case to a New York court, where it was successful in defeating the plaintiff… Continue Reading

What Broadcasters Should Take Away From Recent Decision in SESAC Radio Litigation

Posted in Copyright, Music Licensing
Just before Christmas, Magistrate Judge Lynne A. Sitarski, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued a recommendation that a District Judge deny a motion by the Radio Music License Committee (the “RMLC”) for a preliminary injunction preventing SESAC from increasing its rates during the pendency of the RMLC’s antitrust suit… Continue Reading

Predicting the Media Landscape in 2014

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation, Copyright, First Amendment, Privacy, Program Content
2013 proved to be a transformative year for the media industry.  We saw the M&A market heat up, with Sinclair, Gannett, Tribune, and Gray all growing their broadcast portfolios, while iconic names such as Belo, Fisher, and Allbritton either departed or entered into agreements to depart the broadcast field.  This past year saw digital rights… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes End to Sports Blackout Rule

Posted in Broadcast Regulation, Copyright
The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Wednesday recommending an end to the sports blackout rules, which prevent cable and satellite providers from carrying professional sporting events when local broadcast stations are required to black out the events pursuant to contracts with the NFL and other leagues. The NFL blacks out the television broadcast… Continue Reading

Does NimbleTV Represent the Next Frontier in the Battle Over Digital Rights or the Solution?

Posted in Copyright, MVPD Regulation, Online Video
It looks like an online video distributor (OVD), it feels like an OVD, but is it an OVD?  That is the question that many observers are asking about NimbleTV, a new service that launched this month in the New York area.  NimbleTV is a cloud-based service that allows cable and satellite subscribers to view content… Continue Reading

Rate Court Agrees with Pandora and Invalidates Music Publisher Withdrawals of “New Media” Rights from ASCAP

Posted in Copyright, Music Licensing
The ASCAP Rate Court has ruled that the antitrust consent decree that governs ASCAP’s licensing practices (“AFJ2”) precludes ASCAP’s publisher members from withdrawing certain rights from ASCAP’s repertory.  The court granted Pandora’s summary judgment motion, holding that AFJ2 requires ASCAP to license all “works” in its repertory to any service that requests a license.  The… Continue Reading

Update: FilmOn Appeals Injunction to DC Circuit

Posted in Copyright
Following U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer’s denial last week of FilmOn’s petition to reconsider her decision to enjoin the service from delivering those signals in all territories other than those within the jurisdiction of the Second Circuit, FilmOn has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn the district court… Continue Reading

D.C. District Court Disagrees with Second Circuit Aereo Decision and Issues Near-Nationwide Injunction over FilmOn X Internet Television Service

Posted in Copyright
The U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, last week preliminarily enjoined FilmOn X, a service that uses the Internet to give consumers the ability to watch live, over-the-air television channels on computers and mobile devices, from operating everywhere in the United States except in the Second Circuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont).  In so doing,… Continue Reading

Pandora’s Proposed Broadcast Radio Station Purchase Raises Objections Based on FCC Foreign Ownership and Attribution Rules as Well as Performance Royalty Issues

Posted in Broadcast Attribution, Broadcast Regulation, Copyright, Foreign Ownership, Music Licensing
In June, Pandora announced plans to purchase a South Dakota radio station, KXMZ(FM), from Connoisseur Media, LLC.   From the outside, it might have seemed curious that a pure-play Internet webcaster would seek to enter the broadcast radio business by purchasing a single station.  But Pandora explained that, among other things, the company wanted to buy… Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Rejects Fox’s Copyright and Contract Claims for Preliminary Injunction Against Dish’s Prime Time Anytime and AutoHop, But Leaves Open Issues of Contract Interpretation

Posted in Copyright
Dish Network has emerged victorious in its most recent legal battle with a broadcaster over its PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop technologies.  In Fox Broadcasting Co. v. Dish Network, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Fox’s request for a preliminary… Continue Reading

Hearst-Owned TV Station Sues Aereo in Boston for Copyright Infringement

Posted in Copyright
Another copyright infringement suit has followed the Barry Diller-backed internet TV start-up Aereo after its April victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and subsequent expansion.  On July 9, Hearst-owned TV station WCVB-TV filed suit against Aereo in federal district court in Boston requesting, among other relief, preliminary and permanent injunctions to shut down… Continue Reading