3 Count: $1 Billion in Piracy

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1: Appeals Court Orders Copyright Royalty Board to Reconsider Some of its Decision on Streaming Rates

First off today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the Copyright Royalty Board to reconsider its recent ruling that would have resulted in a 44% rate hike for songwriters when their music is used on streaming services.

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) sets the royalty rates covered under the compulsory license that streaming services use to play the sound recordings based on songwriter compositions. The CRB recommended 44% rate hike, taking the revenue share from 10.5% to 15.1%. However, most prominent streaming services, including Spotify, objected to that rate hike and appealed.

Spotify, for its part, says it’s not upset about the amount of the increase but the way the CRB reached its conclusions. Details of what is being reconsidered are not known as the full decision hasn’t been released. All we know is that the motion was granted in part and denied in part. Either way, it seems the CRB will have to reconsider at least some aspects of its decision.

2: Amazon Staves Off Appeal in Tin Pan Alley Copyright Fight

Next up today, Jake Holland at Bloomberg Law reports that SA Music has been denied an interlocutory appeal in their ongoing case against Amazon, setting the path for the case to continue at the lower court.

SA Music filed the lawsuit alleging that Microsoft distributed several songs they hold the rights to including Stormy Weather and I’ve Got the World on a String. According to SA Music, Amazon has been distributing “bootleg” versions of these songs as a much lower price. However, one of their copyright infringement claims was dismissed after it was found Amazon had not performed “actual dissemination” of the work.

SA Music asked for a reconsideration of that dismissal but was denied. It then asked for an interlocutory appeal, which means an appeal in the middle of ongoing litigation, but was denied that as well. The appeal was denied because, according to the court, it does not “materially advance” the termination of litigation.

3: US Piracy a US$1 Billion Industry

Finally today, Jonathan Easton at Digital TV Europe reports that a new study from Digital Citizens Alliance and NAGRA claims that pirate subscription services are now a $1 billion industry.

According to the report, that figure does not include the sales of “illicit streaming devices” such as “fully loaded” set-top boxes. The report claims that is a separate industry that is worth millions by itself.

However, that money is easily dwarfed by the amount the actual streaming services make. Since they don’t pay for their content, profit is incredibly high, estimated to be 56% for retailers and 85% for wholesalers. This means the average pirate retailer can make over $335,000 and the average pirate wholesaler can make over $1,345,200 per year.

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