In the United States, the mechanical royalty rate that music streaming services, including Spotify and Apple Music, pay songwriters is set by the Copyright Royalty Board.
The CRB is currently in the process of determining songwriter streaming royalty rates for the five years between 2023 and 2027.
But did you know that behind the scenes at the CRB, there are only three people – three judges – in charge of conducting these procedures?
One of these roles is currently available.
According to a new job posting spotted by MBW, the CRB is currently recruiting a Chief Copyright Judge.
Based in Washington DC, this individual will need to be an attorney in good standing with at least seven years of legal experience and must have at least five years of arbitration, arbitration or trial experience.
This person will succeed Chief Justice Jesse Feder who left the post – which he had held since 2019 – in November last year.
According to the announcement, the new judge will serve “as an expert on legal and factual issues on quasi-judicial administrative proceedings in the area of statutory copyright royalties” and brief “management personnel and officials at many levels of the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office on issues related to copyright distribution and rate setting”.
The successful candidate should be able to conduct in-depth legal research and analyze and evaluate information in order to prepare written materials on legal or policy issues. They will also need to know how to “produce written legal documents such as: settlements, pleadings, briefs, motions and reports.
The new permanent successor will have big boots to fill.
Their predecessor, Feder, is a published author and has over 30 years of experience in the copyright and intellectual property field, including serving as director of international business and intellectual property for the Business Software Alliance. , a registry associated with the US Copyright Office; and legal counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the Library of Congress.
Feder has been a copyright judge since 2013 and chief copyright judge since 2019.
In November, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden selected Justice Suzanne Barnett as acting Chief Justice of Copyrights and head of the Copyright Royalty Board.
Barnett sits on the Copyright Royalty Board alongside Judge David Strickler and Judge Steve Ruwe, the two judges with whom the new Chief Copyright Royalty Judge will also sit.
Barnett, the acting Chief Copyright Judge, served as Chief Copyright Judge from 2012 until his retirement in 2019.
Prior to her 2012 appointment as Chief Copyright Judge, she served as a King County Superior Court Judge in Seattle, Washington.
Prior to becoming a judge, Barnett practiced law for 16 years, most recently at a firm she co-founded, Barnett MacLean.
In October, owners of music streaming services including Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Pandora and Google filed documents with the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) telling them what they think they should pay songwriters for. the five years between 2023 and 2027.
Before these filings were public, the National Music Publishers’ Association claimed that music streaming services were trying to reduce the amount of money they pay songwriters in the United States at the “lowest royalty rates in the world”. story”.
NMPA’s own proposal requesting that the current headline rate (i.e. the proportion of a service’s annual revenue paid to songwriters) be increased to 20%.
That would be a 4.9% increase from the 15.1% achieved by the NMPA in the previous CRB process, which is currently being appealed by Spotify, Amazon and Google.
You can read our breakdown of exactly what each music streaming company is asking for, here.The music industry around the world