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"The partnership we created in this agreement, to facilitate the accurate reporting of performances on these services at an affordable cost, illustrates our commitment to compensating artists and copyright owners for their hard work."
——SoundExchange honcho John L. Simson
RECORD BIZ CUTS DEAL WITH
NON-COMMERCIAL WEBCASTERS
Incomprehensible Terms Approved Involving Yearly Fees, Fractional Royalties; Educational Entities Grateful for "Break"
The recording industry, as represented by SoundExchange, has reached an agreement on royalties and related issues with noncommercial Webcasters, just in time to avoid—with entities that accept the agreement, anyhow—the copyright arbitration proceeding (CARP) previously scheduled for 6/30.

The deal, brokered under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (SWSA), will become effective as soon as it’s published by the U.S. Copyright Office.

The deal offers reduced fees covering 1998-2002 as well as 2003-04, as well as fees that are a mere fraction of those negotiated with commercial Webcasters.

The non-coms include non-commercial educational entities (NEEs). Damn, the acronyms just keep comin’. Webcasters wishing to participate in the agreement must opt in within 30 days after the pact is published in the Federal Register (or, in the case of new entrants, when the first payment is due). Opting in means the Webcaster may not participate in a CARP for 2003-2004.

Eligible entities that don’t opt in must pay the statutory rate.

The 2004 minimum fees for Webcasters transmitting on more than one channel are $500 per year ($250 for news/talk/sports format and for NEEs with fewer than 10,000 students); fees for preceding years back to 1998 decrease sharply. Usage fees for Webcasters with "more than 146,000 aggregate tuning hours of transmission" per month (or more than 200 people listening at the same time, on average, per month) are .02176 cents per performance or .251 cents per aggregate tuning hour (.02 cents for news/talk/sports). Don’t ask us; we don’t understand it either. Other minimal administrative fees also apply.

"I’m excited that this agreement allows non-commercial radio to offer dynamic and diverse music to listeners," chortled SoundExchange honcho John L. Simson. "The partnership we created in this agreement, to facilitate the accurate reporting of performances on these services at an affordable cost, illustrates our commitment to compensating artists and copyright owners for their hard work."

"On behalf of its members with educational institution webcasting operations, ACE is pleased to have reached this agreement with the recording industry," cheered American Council on Education General Counsel Sheldon Steinbach. This agreement gives educational institutions with Webcasting operations a ‘break.’ In very real terms, this break allows college webcasters with low-budget operations and small staffs to continue
or begin streaming in a way that further student's media experiences on campus, for example in conjunction with mass media, communications and journalism studies, or as part of student activities."

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