The four settlement agreements between SoundExchange and different groups of webcasters were published in the Federal Register today, setting the dates by which Internet radio operators need to opt into the terms of certain of these deals by filing a Notice of Election with SoundExchange. The deals each have different opt in dates, so it does get confusing. For larger webcasters interested in taking advantage of the rates set by the Sirius XM deal (which we summarized here), their notice must be filed on this form with SoundExchange within 15 days. For noncommercial webcasters wishing to take advantage of the deal struck with the Northwestern College on behalf of Religious Broadcasters, but open to any noncommercial webcaster (a deal we summarized here), the option to be included in this deal must be made by an existing webcaster by September 15 (on this form for most noncommercial webcasters, but on this one, and similar forms for 2006 – 2008, for those eligible for the microcaster provisions). Noncommercial webcasters affiliated with educational institutions who want to take advantage of the record-keeping breaks contained in that Noncommercial Educational deal, also summarized here, apparently need not submit a form until it pays its minimum fee for 2010, but the end of January. As the fourth deal, with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, does not even affect periods until 2011, affiliated stations need not file a notification with SoundExchange at this time, though CPB may have its own opt-in requirements for its member stations.
As we’ve written before (here and here), these deals are on top of the Pureplay settlement, summarized here, where an Internet radio station can still opt in by submitting this form by August 17 (or a small pureplay webcaster can file this form by that same date). Broadcasters have had their own settlement (summarized here and here), where the opt in dates have passed, as have the dates for opting into the "microcasters" deal for small commercial webcasters (see our summary here). New stations just launching have the option to select from any of these alternative rate structures. It is a confusing jumble of regulations that a webcaster needs to carefully sort through to determine which set of rates would best fit their own business model. Read these deals carefully, as all have details that must be observed to insure full compliance.