As we noted in last week’s post, television stations eligible to file 2018 distant signal copyright royalty claims with the United States Copyright Royalty Board must do so by July 31, 2019. While that due date still seems far away (especially to those accustomed to the FCC’s real-time electronic filing options) we remind filers to build in extra time well ahead of the end of the month.
Prior to filing electronically, eligible stations (i.e. stations with locally-produced programming whose signals were carried by at least one cable system located outside the station’s local service area or by a satellite provider that provided service to at least one viewer outside the station’s local service area during 2018) or their representatives must first request to register for an account with the Copyright Royalty Board’s online filing system (“eCRB”). After submitting an initial registration request, filers should expect to wait at least 1-2 business days before receiving a verification email allowing them to activate their eCRB account. Only then can filers begin submitting claims electronically. As a result, e-filers who expect to register on July 31 or even the day or two leading up to that date will almost certainly miss the filing window. To complicate matters further, July 27-28 is a weekend, which will not count toward the registration wait time.
To avoid missing the filing cutoff, our recommendation for e-filing should come as no surprise to longtime readers: register and file as soon as possible! Claimants that are unable to file electronically must adhere to the Copyright Royalty Board’s strict delivery rules, which include a narrow daily window for hand delivery and prohibit the use of overnight delivery services like FedEx. As a result, the best bet is to submit a registration request today and file electronically no later than Monday, July 29, leaving room to file a physical copy should the need arise for any reason.