DMCA-based appeal fails, Yahoo’s Launchcast prevails in royalties row

From BetaNews:

In a summary judgment this morning, a three-judge panel of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that Yahoo’s Launchcast music service does not have to pay performance royalties in addition to licensing fees, on account of the fact that like terrestrial radio, the service is not interactive.

Today’s finding may set precedent for both online and broadcast radio, for having affirmed the legal notion that in order for a presentation of music to count as a performance, it must be directly requested by the listener. While Congress remains split over whether conventional broadcast stations should be responsible for performance royalties to the same degree as Internet providers such as Last.fm and Pandora, US law presently states that the distinction between the two classes deals specifically with interactivity — the degree to which the listener has explicit control over what she’s hearing. If no such control exists, the judges affirmed today, then there’s no “performance,” thus no royalties for performance apply.

In opening his panel’s official ruling, Judge Richard Wesley was under no illusion that this finding was ordinary or somehow unimportant: “We are the first federal appellate court called upon to determine whether a webcasting service that provides users with individualized internet radio stations — the content of which can be affected by users’ ratings of songs, artists, and albums — is an interactive service…If it is…[then] the webcasting service would be required to pay individual licensing fees to those copyright holders of the sound recordings of songs the webcasting service plays for its users. If it is not an interactive service, the webcasting service must only pay a statutory licensing fee set by the Copyright Royalty Board.”

Read the rest:

http://www.betanews.com/article/DMCAbased-appeal-fails-Yahoos-Launchcast-prevails-in-royalties-row/1250887513

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