- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Internet music broadcasters and the recording industry agreed yesterday to settle their long-running dispute over how much small webcasters must pay to broadcast songs over the Internet, officials familiar with the negotiations said.
The two sides in the debate over online music royalties agreed to set lower fees for small webcasters, who argued that heftier rates would have put their fledgling industry out of business.
At issue are the small webcasters, typically companies and individuals whose operations are listener-supported and reach, at most, just a few thousand people.
In June, the U.S. Copyright Office ruled that webcasters have to pay 70 cents for every song heard by 1,000 listeners. The fees were retroactive to 1998 and full payment of royalties from past years was due Oct. 20.
Neither side was happy with that decision, and they began trying to work out an alternate deal.
The agreement reached yesterday would provide "significant discounts" to small webcasters for both future and retroactive payments, said one official close to the negotiations, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The proposed deal, which would supplant the copyright office's ruling, still must be approved by Congress.
Under the deal, payments would be based on a percentage of a webcaster's revenue and include installment payment options, the official said. More details were not immediately available.
Negotiations are continuing between the Digital Media Association, which represents larger webcasters, and the Recording Industry Association of America, said another official familiar with the talks.
The larger webcasters had said the rates set by the copyright office would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, more than they get from advertising or listener contributions.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Republican, had introduced legislation to postpone the Oct. 20 deadline for six months, but he pulled the bill last week, saying he expected a deal soon that could be codified into law.
Internet radio either simulcasts of traditional over-the-air radio or Internet-only stations streamed over the Internet to computers is becoming more popular as more people get high-speed connections.


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