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Media content licensing & royalties

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Changes in technology are transforming the media industry, creating challenges for the determination of appropriate royalty rates and royalty distributions.

Bates White is at the forefront of working toward solutions. Our team has experience supporting media content and service providers in royalty rate-setting and distribution proceedings, including before federal courts, the Copyright Royalty Board, and the Canadian Copyright Board.

Selected Work

  • Copyright Royalty Board— Phonorecords III—Testified on behalf of Spotify regarding appropriate mechanical royalty payments under Section 115 of the Copyright Act.
  • Copyright Royalty Board—SDARS III proceeding—Testified on behalf of Sirius XM in a proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Board. 
  • Copyright Royalty Board—SDARS III proceeding—Supported expert testimony on behalf of Music Choice, the largest US cable music service, before the Copyright Royalty Board. 
  • Performing rights royalties—Testified on behalf of Stingray Digital in front of the Canadian Copyright Board regarding performing rights royalties for pay audio services payable for musical works and sound recordings.
  • Copyright Royalty Board—Webcasters IV proceeding—Testified on behalf of National Public Radio, Inc. and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting before the Copyright Royalty Board to determine webcaster royalties for the digital performance rights in sound recordings and for ephemeral recordings.
  • Thomas Morgan Robertson et al. v. Spotify USA Inc. and Robert Gaudio et al. v. Spotify USA Inc.— Retained on behalf of Spotify USA Inc. in two cases. Plaintiffs were songwriters alleging that Spotify played their musical works without properly obtaining a license. 
  • Pandora Media, Inc. v. ASCAP—Testified on behalf of Pandora in its litigation with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
  • BMI v. Pandora Media, Inc.—Testified on behalf of Pandora to determine the range of rates that would be reasonable for its use of music licensed by BMI.
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