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Internet Radio Royalty Dispute Reaching End–For Now

Recent Settlements and Court Rulings Bring Clarity to Royalty Landscape
The long-running battle over royalties owed by webcasters–companies that broadcast music over the Internet–took several significant leaps towards conclusion last month with important developments both inside and outside of the courtroom. Spurred by the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009, signed by President Obama on June 30, SoundExchange and webcasters entered into a total of five Congressionally blessed settlement agreements that are open to other webcasters and are binding on all copyright owners and performers. Additionally, decisions were announced in two appellate cases. Set forth below are sum­maries of the key terms and important deadlines.

Commercial Webcasters

“Pureplay” Webcasters
On July 7, a coalition of major “pureplay” webcasters reached an agreement with SoundExchange for roy­alties owed by the webcasters for streaming music online for the period of 2006 through 2015. SoundEx­change is a non-profit performance rights organization established by the Recording Industry Association of America and designated by the Copyright Royalty Board (“CRB”) as the receiving agent to collect royal­ties for public performances of sound recordings and distribute them to copyright owners and performers. These royalties are in addition to the royalties webcasters also owe to songwriters, composers and pub­lishers via the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and SESAC.

A PDF version of this entire article can be found at Internet Radio Royalty Dispute Reaching End–For Now.