17 USC 801
Copyright Royalty Judges; appointment and functions
This document contains one section of the U.S. Copyright Act (found in Title 17 of the United States Code). This page was last updated in October 2005. All of the sections of the Copyright Act are listed on the Index page.
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(a)Appointment. The Librarian of Congress shall appoint 3 full-time Copyright Royalty Judges, and shall appoint 1 of the 3 as the Chief Copyright Royalty Judge. The Librarian shall make appointments to such positions after consultation with the Register of Copyrights.
(b)Functions. Subject to the provisions of this chapter [17 USC § §801 et seq.], the functions of the Copyright Royalty Judges shall be as follows:
(1)To make determinations and adjustments of reasonable terms and rates of royalty payments as provided in sections 112(e), 114, 115, 116, 118, 119 and 1004 [17 USC § §112(e), 114, 115, 116, 118, 119 and 1004]. The rates applicable under sections 114(f)(1)(B), 115, and 116 [17 USC § §114(f)(1)(B), 115, and 116] shall be calculated to achieve the following objectives:
(A)To maximize the availability of creative works to the public.
(B)To afford the copyright owner a fair return for his or her creative work and the copyright user a fair income under existing economic conditions.
(C)To reflect the relative roles of the copyright owner and the copyright user in the product made available to the public with respect to relative creative contribution, technological contribution, capital investment, cost, risk, and contribution to the opening of new markets for creative expression and media for their communication.
(D)To minimize any disruptive impact on the structure of the industries involved and on generally prevailing industry practices.
(2)To make determinations concerning the adjustment of the copyright royalty rates under section 111 [17 USC 111] solely in accordance with the following provisions:
(A)The rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) [17 USC 111(d)(1)(B)] may be adjusted to reflect--
(i)national monetary inflation or deflation; or
(ii)changes in the average rates charged cable subscribers for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions to maintain the real constant dollar level of the royalty fee per subscriber which existed as of the date of October 19, 1976, except that--
(I)if the average rates charged cable system subscribers for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions are changed so that the average rates exceed national monetary inflation, no change in the rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) [17 USC 111(d)(1)(B)] shall be permitted; and (II)no increase in the royalty fee shall be permitted based on any reduction in the average number of distant signal equivalents per subscriber.
The Copyright Royalty Judges may consider all factors relating to the maintenance of such level of payments, including, as an extenuating factor, whether the industry has been restrained by subscriber rate regulating authorities from increasing the rates for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions.
(B)In the event that the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission are amended at any time after April 15, 1976, to permit the carriage by cable systems of additional television broadcast signals beyond the local service area of the primary transmitters of such signals, the royalty rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) [17 USC 111(d)(1)(B)] may be adjusted to ensure that the rates for the additional distant signal equivalents resulting from such carriage are reasonable in the light of the changes effected by the amendment to such rules and regulations. In determining the reasonableness of rates proposed following an amendment of Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations, the Copyright Royalty Judges shall consider, among other factors, the economic impact on copyright owners and users; except that no adjustment in royalty rates shall be made under this subparagraph with respect to any distant signal equivalent or fraction thereof represented by--
(i)carriage of any signal permitted under the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission in effect on April 15, 1976, or the carriage of a signal of the same type (that is, independent, network, or noncommercial educational) substituted for such permitted signal; or
(ii)a television broadcast signal first carried after April 15, 1976, pursuant to an individual waiver of the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, as such rules and regulations were in effect on April 15, 1976.
(C)In the event of any change in the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission with respect to syndicated and sports program exclusivity after April 15, 1976, the rates established by section 111(d)(1)(B) [17 USC 111(d)(1)(B)] may be adjusted to assure that such rates are reasonable in light of the changes to such rules and regulations, but any such adjustment shall apply only to the affected television broadcast signals carried on those systems affected by the change.
(D)The gross receipts limitations established by section 111(d)(1)(C) and (D) [17 USC 111(d)(1)(C) and (D)] shall be adjusted to reflect national monetary inflation or deflation or changes in the average rates charged cable system subscribers for the basic service of providing secondary transmissions to maintain the real constant dollar value of the exemption provided by such section, and the royalty rate specified therein shall not be subject to adjustment.
(A)To authorize the distribution, under sections 111, 119, and 1007 [17 USC § §111, 119, and 1007], of those royalty fees collected under sections 111, 119, and 1005 [17 USC § §111, 119, and 1005], as the case may be, to the extent that the Copyright Royalty Judges have found that the distribution of such fees is not subject to controversy.
(B)In cases where the Copyright Royalty Judges determine that controversy exists, the Copyright Royalty Judges shall determine the distribution of such fees, including partial distributions, in accordance with section 111, 119, or 1007 [17 USC 111, 119, or 1007], as the case may be.
(C)The Copyright Royalty Judges may make a partial distribution of such fees during the pendency of the proceeding under subparagraph (B) if all participants under section 803(b)(2) [17 USC 803(b)(2)] in the proceeding that are entitled to receive those fees that are to be partially distributed--
(i)agree to such partial distribution;
(ii)sign an agreement obligating them to return any excess amounts to the extent necessary to comply with the final determination on the distribution of the fees made under subparagraph (B);
(iii)file the agreement with the Copyright Royalty Judges; and
(iv)agree that such funds are available for distribution.
(D)The Copyright Royalty Judges and any other officer or employee acting in good faith in distributing funds under subparagraph (C) shall not be held liable for the payment of any excess fees under subparagraph (C). The Copyright Royalty Judges shall, at the time the final determination is made, calculate any such excess amounts.
(4)To accept or reject royalty claims filed under sections 111, 119, and 1007 [17 USC § §111, 119, and 1007], on the basis of timeliness or the failure to establish the basis for a claim.
(5)To accept or reject rate adjustment petitions as provided in section 804 [17 USC 804] and petitions to participate as provided in section 803(b)(1) and (2) [17 USC 803(b)(1) and (2)].
(6)To determine the status of a digital audio recording device or a digital audio interface device under sections 1002 and 1003 [17 USC § §1002 and 1003], as provided in section 1010 [17 USC 1010].
(A)To adopt as a basis for statutory terms and rates or as a basis for the distribution of statutory royalty payments, an agreement concerning such matters reached among some or all of the participants in a proceeding at any time during the proceeding, except that--
(i)the Copyright Royalty Judges shall provide to those that would be bound by the terms, rates, or other determination set by any agreement in a proceeding to determine royalty rates an opportunity to comment on the agreement and shall provide to participants in the proceeding under section 803(b)(2) [17 USC 803(b)(2)] that would be bound by the terms, rates, or other determination set by the agreement an opportunity to comment on the agreement and object to its adoption as a basis for statutory terms and rates; and
(ii)the Copyright Royalty Judges may decline to adopt the agreement as a basis for statutory terms and rates for participants that are not parties to the agreement, if any participant described in clause (i) objects to the agreement and the Copyright Royalty Judges conclude, based on the record before them if one exists, that the agreement does not provide a reasonable basis for setting statutory terms or rates.
(B)License agreements voluntarily negotiated pursuant to section 112(e)(5), 114(f)(3), 115(c)(3)(E)(i), 116(c), or 118(b)(2) [17 USC 112(e)(5), 114(f)(3), 115(c)(3)(E)(i), 116(c), or 118(b)(2)] that do not result in statutory terms and rates shall not be subject to clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A).
(C)Interested parties may negotiate and agree to, and the Copyright Royalty Judges may adopt, an agreement that specifies as terms notice and recordkeeping requirements that apply in lieu of those that would otherwise apply under regulations.
(8)To perform other duties, as assigned by the Register of Copyrights within the Library of Congress, except as provided in section 802(g) [17 USC 802(g)], at times when Copyright Royalty Judges are not engaged in performing the other duties set forth in this section.