Copyright Royalty Board News, Issue 161

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March 10, 2017
Issue 161


The Copyright Royalty Judges give notice that royalties collected during 2016 under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992—royalties paid for the manufacture and distribution of digital audio recording devices and media (DART)—have declined dramatically, to the extent that amounts deposited are insufficient to cover the costs of managing the DART funds and subfunds and distributing royalties to claimants.

Under section 1007 of the Copyright Act, the Judges are required to determine whether fund distribution controversies exist and either distribute uncontroverted royalties or commence a distribution proceeding to resolve controversies. As of royalty year 2016, however, the DART funds and subfunds are depleted, rendering it impossible for the Judges to fulfill this directive. 

Accordingly, as a matter of administrative necessity, the Judges will not entertain filings related to distribution of DART funds (to establish either a controversy or lack of controversy) until further notice. See Environmental Defense Fund, Inc. v. EPA, 636 F.2d 1267, 1282 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (recognizing that “an agency may depart from the requirements of a regulatory statute . . . to cope with the administrative impossibility of applying the commands of the substantive statute”).Current legal proceedings relating to interpretation of the DART provisions of the Copyright Act and its application to emerging technologies might result in additional royalty deposits in the future.

Parties intending to claim DART royalties for 2017 or future years, assuming DART accounts receive more royalty deposits, must continue to file timely claims in accordance with chapters 8 and 10 of the Copyright Act and the Judges’ procedural rules at 37 C.F.R. chapter III. Filing of 2017 DART claims will commence January 1, 2018, and will end February 28, 2018. Visit the CRB website for more information.


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