Last week, the Copyright Royalty Board asked for comments on a proposed settlement agreement between Sirius XM and SoundExchange, and some articles about that announcement have not been entirely clear about what the deal covers. It has nothing to do with webcasting royalties for 2016-2020, which are still being litigated (see our article here about the proposals of the parties in that case). Nor does it have to do with the royalties payable for Sirius’ primary satellite radio service, which were just upheld by the Court of Appeals (see our article here). Instead, these royalties have to do with a very narrow part of Sirius’ business – providing music channels packaged and sold to consumers along with video services like cable and satellite TV.
Some who closely follow these issues (and the coverage of CRB issues on this blog) may think that the rates for these services were set at the same time as the Sirius rates for their satellite music service, as the CRB at that time set the rates that were applicable to Music Choice, which also offers a music service bundled with cable or satellite video programming (see our articles on the recent decision on the appeal of the rates, and the article on the CRB decision itself here). Even though Music Choice offers pretty much the same service, their rates are different – as Music Choice was classified as a “preexisting subscription service” in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, while the service that Sirius provides is classified as a “new subscription service” paying at a different royalty rate set by the CRB using a different royalty standard. How did this happen?
Continue Reading Copyright Royalty Board Announces Settlement between Sirius and SoundExchange for New Subscription Services Packaged with Cable and Satellite Video – How Different Royalty Standards Result in Different Royalty Rates