Legal Blog

Offit Kurman Represents Broadcasting Group in Copyright Suit

Offit Kurman has been selected as counsel for WTGD, WQPO, WJDV, and their broadcast ownership group, in a suit against digital performance rights organization SoundExchange, Inc. Offit Kurman is counsel of record in the suit, alongside David Butler, Bryan Killian and Stephanie Schuster, of Bingham McCutchen, LLP. The broadcasting group seeks a declaratory judgment from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, providing that radio broadcasters are exempted from paying online streaming royalties when confining their broadcasts to certain geographic areas, in consideration of a recently developed digital technology known as geofencing, which can restrict online data made available to recipients based on the locale of those recipients. Under Section 114(d)(1)(B)(i) of U.S. Copyright Act, broadcasters are exempt from the payment of royalty fees as long as their radio transmissions are retransmitted within a 150-mile radius of the broadcast site. With geofencing, broadcasters can now limit their online retransmissions to the same 150-mile zone, to ensure online listeners are located within the royalty-free distance. The plaintiffs in this suit argue this proven technology preserves local broadcasting exemptions under the Copyright Act, and its use is thus not subject to royalty payments. Those interested can read more about this case at the media outlets below:

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