House votes to extend deadline for webcasting settlement

by Andrew Noyes, National Journal

The House on Tuesday passed legislation under suspension of the rules that would allow many months of royalty negotiations between the music and Internet industries continue while delaying full implementation of a controversial rate-setting for webcasters imposed by the Copyright Royalty Board.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., with support from Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher, D-Va., and California Democrats Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo. Suspension of the rules requires that legislation clear the House with no amendments and at least a two-thirds majority.

The legislation approved Tuesday would replace a Feb. 15, 2009 deadline that was part of legislation that passed the 110th Congress -- with a 30-day window from the date of enactment for a deal to be reached between digital royalty collector SoundExchange, which is negotiating on behalf of copyright owners and performers, and Internet radio services represented by the Digital Media Association and others.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced a companion measure with Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., last month and the bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

SoundExchange and the National Association of Broadcasters already reached agreement on Internet radio royalties earlier this year that provides discounts on previously set rates for 2009 and 2010 and establishes rates for 2011-2015. Under the arrangement, which involves AM and FM radio stations that simulcast programming over the Internet or that create new stand-alone Internet stations, simulcasts or Web channels operated by local stations are reduced for the first two years by about 16 percent then gradually increase through 2015 -- from $0.0015 per streamed sound recording in 2009 to $0.0025 per stream by 2015.

article originally published at National Journal.

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