17 U.S. Code § 801 - Copyright Royalty Judges; appointment and functions
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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, 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. The rates applicable under sections 114 (f)(1)(B), 115, and 116 shall be calculated to achieve the following objectives:
(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.
(2) To make determinations concerning the adjustment of the copyright royalty rates under section 111 solely in accordance with the following provisions:
(A) The rates established by section 111 (d)(1)(B) may be adjusted to reflect—
(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,
(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) 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) 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
(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) 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)  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, of those royalty fees collected under sections 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, as the case may be.
(C) Notwithstanding section 804 (b)(8), the Copyright Royalty Judges, at any time after the filing of claims under section 111, 119, or 1007, may, upon motion of one or more of the claimants and after publication in the Federal Register of a request for responses to the motion from interested claimants, make a partial distribution of such fees, if, based upon all responses received during the 30-day period beginning on the date of such publication, the Copyright Royalty Judges conclude that no claimant entitled to receive such fees has stated a reasonable objection to the partial distribution, and all such claimants—
(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);
(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, 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 and petitions to participate as provided in section 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, as provided in section 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) 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) that do not result in statutory terms and rates shall not be subject to clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A).
(c) Rulings.— The Copyright Royalty Judges may make any necessary procedural or evidentiary rulings in any proceeding under this chapter and may, before commencing a proceeding under this chapter, make any such rulings that would apply to the proceedings conducted by the Copyright Royalty Judges.
(d) Administrative Support.— The Librarian of Congress shall provide the Copyright Royalty Judges with the necessary administrative services related to proceedings under this chapter.
(e) Location in Library of Congress.— The offices of the Copyright Royalty Judges and staff shall be in the Library of Congress.
(f) Effective Date of Actions.— On and after the date of the enactment of the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004, in any case in which time limits are prescribed under this title for performance of an action with or by the Copyright Royalty Judges, and in which the last day of the prescribed period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, holiday, or other nonbusiness day within the District of Columbia or the Federal Government, the action may be taken on the next succeeding business day, and is effective as of the date when the period expired.
 See References in Text note below.
Source(Added Pub. L. 108–419, § 3(a),Nov. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2341; amended Pub. L. 109–303, §§ 3(1), (2), 5,Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1478, 1483.)
References in Text
Section 111 (d)(1)(D) of this title, referred to in subsec. (b)(2)(D), was amended generally by Pub. L. 111–175, title I, § 104(c)(1)(C),May 27, 2010, 124 Stat. 1232, and, as so amended, no longer relates to gross receipts limitations.
The date of the enactment of the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004, referred to in subsec. (f), is the date of the enactment of Pub. L. 108–419, which was approved Nov. 30, 2004.
A prior section 801,Pub. L. 94–553, title I, § 101,Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2594; Pub. L. 99–397, § 2(c), (d),Aug. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 848; Pub. L. 100–568, § 11(1),Oct. 31, 1988, 102 Stat. 2860; Pub. L. 100–667, title II, § 202(4),Nov. 16, 1988, 102 Stat. 3958; Pub. L. 101–318, § 3(b),July 3, 1990, 104 Stat. 288; Pub. L. 102–563, § 3(a)(1),Oct. 28, 1992, 106 Stat. 4247; Pub. L. 103–198, § 2(a),Dec. 17, 1993, 107 Stat. 2304; Pub. L. 104–39, § 5(d)(1),Nov. 1, 1995, 109 Stat. 348; Pub. L. 105–80, §§ 8(a), 12(a)(19),Nov. 13, 1997, 111 Stat. 1533, 1535; Pub. L. 105–304, title IV, § 405(e)(1),Oct. 28, 1998, 112 Stat. 2902, related to the establishment and purpose of copyright arbitration royalty panels, prior to the general amendment of this chapter by Pub. L. 108–419.
2006—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 109–303, § 3(1), substituted “119, and 1004” for “119 and 1004”.
Subsec. (b)(3)(C). Pub. L. 109–303, § 5(1), added introductory provisions and struck out former introductory provisions which read as follows: “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) in the proceeding that are entitled to receive those fees that are to be partially distributed—”.
Subsec. (b)(3)(C)(i). Pub. L. 109–303, § 5(2), substituted “the” for “such”.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 109–303, § 3(2), added subsec. (f).
Effective Date of 2006 Amendment
Amendment by section 3 ofPub. L. 109–303effective as if included in the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108–419, and amendment by section 5 ofPub. L. 109–303effective October 6, 2004, see section 6 ofPub. L. 109–303, set out as a note under section 111 of this title.
Effective Date; Transition Provisions
Pub. L. 108–419, § 6,Nov. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2369, as amended by Pub. L. 109–303, § 4(h),Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1483, provided that:
“(a) Effective Date.—This Act [see Short Title of 2004 Amendment note set out under section 101 of this title] and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act [Nov. 30, 2004], except that the Librarian of Congress shall appoint 1 or more interim Copyright Royalty Judges under section 802 (d) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by this Act, within 90 days after such date of enactment to carry out the functions of the Copyright Royalty Judges under title 17, United States Code, to the extent that Copyright Royalty Judges provided for in section 801 (a) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by this Act, have not been appointed before the end of that 90-day period.
“(b) Transition Provisions.—
“(1) In general.—Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), the amendments made by this Act shall not affect any proceedings commenced, petitions filed, or voluntary agreements entered into before the effective date provided in subsection (a) under the provisions of title 17, United States Code, as amended by this Act, and pending on such effective date. Such proceedings shall continue, determinations made in such proceedings, and appeals taken therefrom, as if this Act had not been enacted, and shall continue in effect until modified under title 17, United States Code, as amended by this Act. Such petitions filed and voluntary agreements entered into shall remain in effect as if this Act had not been enacted. For purposes of this paragraph, the Librarian of Congress may determine whether a proceeding has commenced. The Librarian of Congress may terminate any proceeding commenced before the effective date provided in subsection (a) pursuant to chapter 8 of title 17, United States Code, and any proceeding so terminated shall become null and void. In such cases, the Copyright Royalty Judges may initiate a new proceeding in accordance with regulations adopted pursuant to section 803 (b)(6) of title 17, United States Code.
“(2) Certain royalty rate proceedings.—Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the amendments made by this Act shall not affect proceedings to determine royalty rates pursuant to section 119 (c) of title 17, United States Code, that are commenced before January 31, 2006.
“(3) Pending proceedings.—Notwithstanding paragraph (1), any proceedings to establish or adjust rates and terms for the statutory licenses under section 114 (f)(2) or 112 (e) of title 17, United States Code, for a statutory period commencing on or after January 1, 2005, shall be terminated upon the date of enactment of this Act and shall be null and void. The rates and terms in effect under section 114 (f)(2) or 112 (e) of title 17, United States Code, on December 31, 2004, for new subscription services, eligible nonsubscription services, and services exempt under section 114(d)(1)(C)(iv) of such title, and the rates and terms published in the Federal Register under the authority of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002 (17 U.S.C. 114 note; Public Law 107–321) (including the amendments made by that Act) for the years 2003 through 2004, as well as any notice and recordkeeping provisions adopted pursuant thereto, shall remain in effect until the later of the first applicable effective date for successor terms and rates specified in section 804 (b) (2) or (3)(A) of title 17, United States Code, or such later date as the parties may agree or the Copyright Royalty Judges may establish. For the period commencing January 1, 2005, an eligible small webcaster or a noncommercial webcaster, as defined in the regulations published by the Register of Copyrights pursuant to the Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002 (17 U.S.C. 114 note; Public Law 107–321) (including the amendments made by that Act) [amending section 114 of this title and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 101 and 114 of this title], may elect to be subject to the rates and terms published in those regulations by complying with the procedures governing the election process set forth in those regulations not later than the first date on which the webcaster would be obligated to make a royalty payment for such period. Until successor terms and rates have been established for the period commencing January 1, 2006, licensees shall continue to make royalty payments at the rates and on the terms previously in effect, subject to retroactive adjustment when successor rates and terms for such services are established.
“(4) Interim proceedings.—Notwithstanding subsection (a), as soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, the Copyright Royalty Judges or interim Copyright Royalty Judges shall publish the notice described in section 803 (b)(1)(A) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by this Act, to initiate a proceeding to establish or adjust rates and terms for the statutory licenses under section 114 (f)(2) or 112 (e) of title 17, United States Code, for new subscription services and eligible nonsubscription services for the period commencing January 1, 2006. The Copyright Royalty Judges or Interim Copyright Royalty Judges are authorized to cause that proceeding to take place as provided in subsection (b) ofsection 803 of that title within the time periods set forth in that subsection. Notwithstanding section 803(c)(1) of that title, the Copyright Royalty Judges shall not be required to issue their determination in that proceeding before the expiration of the statutory rates and terms in effect on December 31, 2004.
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