While all the details are not out yet, the trade press has been filled with announcements this evening reporting that SoundExchange and the National Association of Broadcasters have reached a deal on Internet Radio Royalties. This deal will apparently settle the royalty dispute between broadcasters and SoundExchange for royalties covering 2006-2010 which arose from the 2007 Copyright Royalty Board decision, as well as the upcoming proceeding for the royalties for 2011-2015. According to the press reports, the royalties are slightly reduced from those decided by the CRB for the remainder of the current period, and continue to rise for the period 2011-2015 until they reach $.0025 per performance in 2015. According to the press release issued by the parties, there was also an agreement between the NAB and the four major labels that would waive the limits on the use of music by broadcasters that are imposed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
These limits, referred to as the performance complement, set out requirements on how many songs from the same artist or same CD can be played within given time periods which, if not observed, can disqualify a webcast from qualifying for the statutory license. If a webcaster cannot rely on the statutory license, it would have to negotiate with each copyright holder for the rights to use the music that it plays. The performance complement imposed requirements including:
- No preannouncing when a song will play
- No more than 3 songs in a row by the same artist
- Not more than 4 songs by same artist in a 3 hour period
- No more than 2 songs from same CD in a row
- Identify song, artist and CD title in writing on the website as the song is being played
It will be interesting to see the details of this agreement setting out what aspects of these rules are being waived.
This settlement was apparently entered into as part of the Webcaster Settlement Act, about which we wrote here. We'll see if any other settlements under this act are filed in coming days.