Geo-fencing suit dismissed.

geo-fenceA US district judge has dismissed a lawsuit to get court agreement that “geo-fencing” Internet streams protects broadcasters against having to pay streaming royalties to SoundExchange. Verstandig Broadcasting brought suit last year against SoundExchange to validate its position that by limiting its online streams – specifically, for their station WTGD, Bridgewater, VA – to a 150-mile radius, it would not owe performance royalties (which are, of course, collected by SoundExchange). But last week, Federal Judge Michael Urbanski ruled that the Verstandig case is “too speculative, indefinite and hypothetical to allow the court to make a judgment as to whether the proposed broadcasts will result in copyright infringement or not.” The ruling affirms the recommendation of a US magistrate judge to dismiss the case because SoundExchange would not be the proper defendants in the case; the case should be brought against the copyright owners themselves, because “any cognizable injury to the plaintiff’s court owing under the Copyright Act would be traceable to the copyright owners.”

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