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SoundExchange Seeks Dismissal of VerStandig Suit

The suit centers on “geo-fencing” streaming within 150 miles

There’s been more movement in the case of a broadcaster testing streaming royalty copyright law.

SoundExchange has responded to a streaming royalty lawsuit filed by a Virginia radio station by filing a motion asking the presiding judge to dismiss the case.

The defendant, the entity responsible for collecting streaming music recording royalties and distributing them to copyright owners, claims in its motion that the suit should be dismissed on grounds the plaintiff, VerStandig Broadcasting, fails to state a claim in the suit. In addition, SoundExchange cites a lack of court jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The suit, filed in federal court in Virginia in April 2014, is centered on streaming technology called “geo-fencing” that allows a broadcaster to cap streaming content within 150 miles of its transmitter. VerStandig Broadcasting believes that using geo-fencing qualifies the company for an exception under webcasting copyright law. The broadcaster, which owns WTGD(FM) in Harrisonburg, Va., and several other radio stations, contends in its suit that it owes no royalties so long as it limits its streaming capabilities to within 150 miles of its transmitter.

SoundExchange claims in court documents the 150-mile royalty exemption set down by the Copyright Office only applies to satellite and cable systems and not broadcast streaming via the Internet.

Geo-Fencing Technology at Heart of Streaming Royalty Dispute