MEMBER OPT-IN TO SONY WAIVER
NAB reached an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment that will allow radio stations to more easily stream non-subscription radio programming over the internet without running afoul of copyright law. This agreement is available to all broadcast radio stations that rely on the Section 112 and 114 statutory licenses to stream, including noncommercial stations.
The agreement waives aspects of four statutory requirements for streaming sound recordings and permits broadcasters to do the following:
- Consecutively transmit up to half an entire album. The statutory streaming license limits the number of times webcasters may transmit sound recordings from a specific artist or album during a specific period of time or consecutively. The agreement with Sony allows broadcasters to consecutively transmit up to half an entire album (i.e., one album side).
- Air certain pre-announcements. The statutory license limits the pre-announcing of when songs will be played. The Sony waiver permits certain pre-announcements but does not allow the broadcaster to announce the exact time a particular song will air or to publish a written program schedule.
- Occasionally and inadvertently fail to properly identify the song being streamed. The statutory license requires that stations have in text on their website or player the title, album and artist of each song as it is being streamed. The Sony waiver still requires this identification but allows for occasional or inadvertent failures to comply.
- Keep ephemeral recordings beyond six months. The statutory license generally requires that ephemeral recordings be destroyed within six months. An ephemeral recording is a copy of a song made to facilitate a transmission (for example, a copy of a song from a CD made by a broadcaster to put the music into a station’s hard drive music system). The Sony waiver eliminates this six-month destruction requirement.
In addition to the statutory requirements waived by the agreement, stations that regularly transmit music programming and stream more than 80,000 music aggregate tuning hours (ATH) per month at any point covered by the agreement must also comply with the following two provisions:
- Place a “buy now” button on your station’s website. The “buy now” button must be placed in a prominent and proximate location on your website, player or mobile app in order to allow listeners to purchase a song through a Sony-authorized download store (e.g., iTunes, Amazon).
- Limit your station’s streaming to the United States. Stations that make their simulcast streaming available as transmissions syndicated or aggregated through third-party websites or mobile apps must limit their streaming to the United States.
Stations that choose to operate under this agreement must also:
- Pay the statutory sound recording licensing fees, and
- Comply with the remaining statutory requirements of the Copyright Act, Section 114(d)(2). These provisions are summarized here.
The Sony agreement extends through December 31, 2020.
By choosing to opt in to the Sony waiver, you must have reviewed the agreement and agree to comply with its provisions.
To fully understand the impact of opting into the waiver, the eligibility requirements of streaming under the statutory license and the related rights and responsibilities involved, we urge you to contact your station counsel.