US Copyright Office Sets Rates for Webcasting

March 2004


The U.S. Copyright Office has published the royalty rates for web music broadcasts, which essentially rubber-stamp a resolution reached last April between online music broadcasters and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In addition to setting rates for the 2003-2004 license period, the Copyright Office also named SoundExchange, a former RIAA arm spun off as a separate non-profit group in September 2003, as the sole designated agent to collect and distribute royalties from Webcasters and new online subscription services. The recording industry and Webcasters finally agreed on a proposed 0.0762 cents per performance or 1.17 cents per aggregate hour tuned in for free, advertising-supported services. Webcasters had opposed other rates suggested by the RIAA, saying they would put them out of business. The new regulations govern rates and terms for online music subscription services with non-interactive streaming components, Internet radio stations and traditional broadcasters that simulcast signals online. Under the new regulations, all covered services are required to submit a lump sum payment to SoundExchange covering the period from January 1 2003 through to February 29 2004 on or before April 14 2004. Starting from March, services are required to make royalty payments within 45 days after the end of each month.
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