Universal Petitions Supreme Court in Digital Music Royalties Case

December 15, 2010 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

At issue is whether royalties for digital downloads are the same as those labels have traditionally paid for physical media sales. Reviewing the dispute between F.B.T. Prods, which discovered rapper Eminem, and Universal Music Group, Aftermath Records, and Interscope Records, a federal appeals court held in September that digital downloads were licenses, not sales, and hence subject to royalty rates as high as 50% (via The Hollywood Reporter).

The labels have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on a procedural question, but if the appellate court ruling stands, it could hold broader ramifications for digital media distributors.

Eminem Royalties Case: Are Track Downloads and Ringtones ‘Sales’ or ‘Licenses’?

September 7, 2010 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comment 

A federal appeals court has reversed a lower court’s determination that rapper Eminem was entitled only to his standard royalties from record sales for iTunes downloads and ringtone purchases. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with the argument of FBT Productions, which retains exclusive rights to Eminem’s recordings and claimed Universal Music Group’s sale of downloads and ringtones fell under the “masters licensed” clause of a contract between the label and the management company. That means the artist is entitled to a 50% cut of resultant revenue. The Circuit court remanded the case to the trial court; Universal tells Bloomberg that it will ask the appeals court for a rehearing.

Patent Licensor: AVC Will Remain Royalty-Free For Free Internet Videos

August 26, 2010 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comment 

MPEG LA announced today that its AVC Patent Portfolio License will continue not to charge royalties for Internet video that is free to end users (known as “Internet Broadcast AVC Video”) during the entire life of a license.

The patent licensor previously announced it would not charge royalties for such video through December 31, 2015.

Products and services other than Internet Broadcast AVC Video continue to be royalty-bearing. MPEG LA’s AVC Patent Portfolio License provides access to essential patent rights for the AVC/H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10) digital video coding standard. In addition to Internet Broadcast AVC Video, MPEG LA’s AVC Patent Portfolio License provides coverage for devices that decode and encode AVC video, AVC video sold to end users for a fee on a title or subscription basis and free television video services.

AVC video is used in devices ranging from set-top boxes and PC media players to Blu-ray players and recorders, video cameras, and mobile phones.

Photo Agencies Seek Cut Of ‘People’ iPad App: Update

August 20, 2010 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comment 

Time Inc.’s People magazine released its weeks-delayed iPad app on Thursday, even as it reportedly continues to meet with photo agencies over a prospective cut of revenues from the emerging digital platform.

The free app enables users to purchase the magazine’s digital edition for $3.99 per week. Subscribers to People’s print edition, meanwhile, can receive the iPad versions for free.

Sources familiar with the app’s development tell Advertising Age that completion of a subscription verification mechanism, not negotiations with photo agencies (as originally reported by the Hollywood Reporter), stalled the launch of the digital magazine.

According to an update at the Hollywood Reporter’s website, People is scheduled to meet with photo agencies later today. But a magazine spokeswoman tells the Reporter that it has rights to use the contested paparazzi photos under its current contracts.

Music Industry Comes Together For Online Distribution Across EU

October 20, 2009 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comment 

With a new pact between the European Commission and major labels, royalty collection societies, and online retailers, the continent’s music industry moves further away from its traditional territorial borders. By Macworld UK

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