Copyright Royalty Judges Amend Webcaster Definition, Again

New definition is intended more explicitly to include noncom educational broadcasters
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Effective Dec. 13, the Copyright Royalty Judges approved a technical amendment to the Notice and Recordkeeping for Use of Sound Recordings Under Statutory License. The change expanded the definition of minimum fee webcasters to include noncommercial webcasters and noncommercial educational webcasters.

The new definition of “minimum fee webcaster” is: “Reports of use of sound recordings under statutory license for nonsubscription transmission services, preexisting satellite digital audio radio services, new subscription services.”

This is the second technical amendment to 37 CFR Part 370, which was published May 19. The first changed the wording from “minimum fee broadcaster” to “minimum fee webcaster,” intended to be a more inclusive term. However, the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Religious Broadcasters Noncommercial Music License Committee said that the new definition was too narrow and unintentionally excluded the webcasts of some noncommercial broadcasters.

Prior to settling on the new definition, the CRB requested comments on the language. The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System filed a comment that said “Given the limited scope of the notice and without prejudice to its objections to the $500 annual fee, the $100 opt-out fee, and the reporting requirements, IBS interposes no objection to the notice.” This was interpreted by the judges as not opposing the proposed change.

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Last time we discussed some of the changes in the digital music industry that could affect radio, including the Copyright Royalty Board’s recent action that increased the royalties paid by online radio services for use of published music by U.S. statutory license. This time we will continue our exploration of that topic.