Webcasting Woes

To read more about digital buffer copies, click here.

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The Copyright Office has a bone to pick with the 2nd Circuit. The court says that ephemeral buffer copies are not "copies" under the Copyright Act. The Copyright Office thinks they are--which is why the agency has proposed a rule that would force Webcasters to pay royalties on ephemeral buffer copies.

Webcasters already pay royalties for streaming audio and video works. These royalties cover the right to perform the works.

The Copyright Office's proposed rules would state that Webcasters' buffer copies of audio and video works are copies. This, in turn, would require Webcasters to pay royalties for these buffer copies, in order to license the right to reproduce the works.

Music companies are pushing for the rule change. Webcasters oppose it, arguing that they are already paying copyright owners for performance rights, and that paying again for reproduction rights--when no one winds up possessing a reproduction--is simply double-dipping.

The Copyright Office held a public hearing on the proposed rule in September. It's unclear how the agency will eventually rule on this matter.

Contributing Author

Steven Seidenberg

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