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Interim Copyright Royalty Judge Named

Librarian of Congress James Billington has
named Richard Strasser, senior staff attorney on the Copyright Royalty Board as
interim royalty judge for six months or until a replacement can be found for
Judge Stanley Wisniewski, who retired at the end of last month.

The
judges are part of a statutory body overseeing hundreds of millions of dollarsin payments by satellite and cable operators under compulsory licenses.
Those blanket licenses allow them to retransmit broadcast programming without
negotiating individual payments to the various content providers for each
program. Instead they pay into a pool of money then distributed either by
private agreement or determination of the judges.

Copyright
holders must file annually for their payments from the pool, either by private
agreement or a decision by the judges if there are disputes. The Copyright
Office has been leaning toward recommending phasing out the blanket license
regime in favor of per-program licensing, which could mean more money for
content providers but more rights-clearing headaches for distributors.