Register Of Copyrights Issues Opinion On Second Novel Question Of Law In Pandora Rate Case
November 25, 2015 at 4:02 AM (PT)
The Register Of Copyrights MARIA A. PALLANTE delivered a opinion in response to a “novel material question of law” referred to her on SEPTEMBER 11th by THE COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD (CRB). This was the second round of questioning referred to the Register of Copyrights by the CRB in the “Webcasting IV” rate setting proceeding, which will determine rates for the period of 2016-2020. A decision is due in mid-DECEMBER.
The question referred by the Judges asked whether they were prohibited by the governing statutes from setting rates and terms that may differ across different types of categories of licensors -- in essence, whether they can set statutory webcasting royalty rates that vary depending on the identity or category of the record company that owns the recordings performed by a webcaster.
The Register of Copyrights concluded that the question was not properly referred to the Copyright Office for consideration, and therefore she could not offer an opinion on the question of differentiated rates for licensors. The Register further stated that because all participants in the Web IV proceeding had assumed a non-differentiated rate structure for licensors, that is the only reasonable outcome in the Web IV proceeding.
“PANDORA supports a uniform rate structure for all musicians,” said PANDORA Dir./Public Affairs DAVE GRIMALDI. “We look forward to the certainty the CRB’s DECEMBER decision will bring to the music industry, particularly as Pandora continues to improve our partnerships with music makers.”
As HYPEBOT noted, however, in its slightly broader view, what amounts to a non-ruling means "indie artists and labels will not be paid less by webcasters than their major label correspondents... effectively [leaving] the question unanswered for at least five more years."