Free Webinar: What You Need to Know About Global Music Rights and the Radio Music License Committee's Lawsuit Against It

Many broadcasters have been contacted by the Radio Music License Committee about its lawsuit against Global Music Rights (GMR), a new performing rights organization (PRO). GMR was founded in 2013 with the goal of extracting higher music license fees than those offered through other PROs like ASCAP and BMI. The RMLC alleges that GMR’s licensing practices are anticompetitive and violate the antitrust laws.

Have you been contacted? Do you have questions? Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth is hosting a webinar to discuss GMR and the RMLC’s lawsuit it on Wednesday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m. (CST).

The webinar will answer questions such as:

• What is GMR?
• Why did the RMLC sue GMR?
• What might happen with that lawsuit?
• What should I do now and be prepared to do in the future?

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions. The webinar will be presented by FHH attorneys
Kevin Goldberg and Karyn Ablin, who between them have over 40 years of experience in copyright and music licensing.

The webinar is free. We encourage station employees to attend. Register here.  (You’ll need to provide your name and email address, and you’ll also be asked to provide your city and state and any station(s) you may be associated with.)

FHH is presenting the webinar in cooperation with our friends at a number of state broadcasters’ associations, including those in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland/DC/Delaware, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Minnesota, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Annual DTV Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report Due on December 1 for Minnesota TV Stations

By December 1, every commercial and noncommercial educational digital television (DTV) broadcast station licensee must file an Annual DTV Ancillary/Supplementary Services Report Schedule 317.  The report was previously filed in CDBS on Form 317.  Since the launch of the FCC Licensing and Management System, the form is now filed in that system.  Each station must report whether it provided ancillary or supplementary services at any time during the twelve-month period ending on the preceding September 30th.

 

Under Section 73.624(g), of the commission’s rules, ancillary or supplementary services are all services provided on that portion of the station's digital spectrum capacity or bitstream not needed to provide the required one free, over-the-air video broadcast signal to viewers, except for any video broadcast signal provided at no direct charge to viewers.  Examples of such services include, but are not limited to, computer software distribution, data transmissions, teletext, interactive materials, aural messages, paging services, audio signals and  subscription video.

 

If ancillary or supplementary services are provided, then each commercial DTV licensee must pay an amount equal to 5% of the gross revenues derived by the licensee.  The fee is calculated on any subscription fee or charge required to receive the service or any payment or compensation received from a third party in exchange for the transmission of material provided by that third party. Excluded are revenues received for commercial advertisements used to support broadcasting for which a subscription fee is not required.

 

For those stations that have provided Ancillary/Supplementary Services and received consideration, the form requires reporting the amount of consideration received and the bitstream used.   The form will then automatically calculate the fee due to the FCC.

Minnesota Mid-Term EEO Reports Due on December 1, 2016

Mid-term FCC EEO Reports on Form 397 will be due on December 1, 2016 for Minnesota radio stations with more than ten full-time employees and licensed to communities that are outside smaller markets.  The Report covers full-time recruitment activities for the previous two years. 

Under the smaller marketing exemption, a station is exempt from filing the mid-term report if it is licensed to a metropolitan area with a population of fewer than 250,000 persons or areas outside of all metropolitan areas as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.

Remember that EEO Reports are filed for Employment Units.  An Employment Unit is comprised of commonly owned stations in the same market that share even a single employee, and includes time brokered stations.

The FCC Form 397 is a relatively simple report to complete, but requires that the local public file EEO report for each of the previous two years be included.  Accordingly, reporting stations will have to attach in PDF format a copy of their local public file EEO reports for 2015-2016 and for 2014-2015.  The mid-term report is required to be filed by radio stations with more than ten full-time employees.  With fewer employees, a mid-term report is not required.

Third Quarter Issues/Programs List Due in Station Public Inspection File by October 10

The Third Quarter 2016 Issues/Programs list must be placed in stations' public inspection files by October 10, reflecting programming aired during the months of July, August and September 2016.  All TV stations and radio stations in the top 50 markets with 5 or more full-time employees must post these documents to the FCC's online public file database. (Radio stations outside of the top 50 markets must begin uploading the files to the FCC database as of March 1, 2018.)  

According to the FCC, the list should reflect the "station's most significant programming treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period." These Quarterly Lists are the best evidence of how well a station is complying with its public service obligations and should be given serious and thorough attention. The Commission has consistently enforced compliance with its rules regarding the Quarterly Lists. Missing or incomplete Quarterly Lists and those that are not placed in the public file in a timely manner may subject a station to a fine of $10,000. Log in to the Member Blog here for exclusive guidance on the Issues/Programs list from MBA FCC Counsel Gregg Skall. A memo on the Issues/Programs list from Pillsbury Law is available here.

Are You Prepared for the National EAS Test on September 28? Test Your Readiness with this Bullet Point Checklist

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new EAS Rules and Guidelines that became effective as of July 30, 2016. Here's what you need to know to comply with the rules and prepare for the September 28th National EAS Test:

  • All EAS participants must have an operational EAS decoder that recognizes the FIPS Code 000000 for "All of United States"
  • All EAS participants must have an operational decoder that recognizes and immediately "relays-to-air" the Event Code for National Periodic Test (NPT) that is received with a valid FIPS Code
  • The EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is operational. All EAS participants were to have submited Form One on ETRS on or before August 26, 2016 on the FCC's ETRS webpage
  • Form One may be edited until September 26, 2016
  • Form Two must be filed on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 28, 2016
  • Form Three must be filed on or before November 14, 2016
  • Once on the ETRS page, provide the registration information requested. You will receive an email with login instructions. The ETRS homepage has detailed instructions regarding the submission of the required forms. Questions? Contact FCC staff at ETRS@fcc.gov.
  • View the FCC's instructional video on ETRS filing
  • All EAS activations must be reported via ETRS.
  • The FCC has scheduled a National EAS Test on September 28, 2016 at 1:20 p.m. Central Time. The test will use the new EAS FIPS Code 000000 and the Event Code NPT.
  • Important Notice: many of the original 1996-era EAS decoders/encoders cannot be upgraded to recognize the NPT Event Code/FIPS Code. Replacement is necessary. EAS participants whose equipment has not been upgraded are subject to an FCC violation carrying a significant fine.
  • View an instructional slide deck on the National EAS Test and the IPAWS system from FEMA's Al Kenyon