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CRB to Tackle Royalty Rates for Public, Satellite Radio

The move follows the release of the webcast royalty rates, which was met with varied reviews

Round one down; here comes round two. The Copyright Royalty Board announced plans for several new rate-setting proceedings that will affect performance rates paid to artists whose work is heard in public broadcasting, satellite radio and the distribution of CDs and albums.

This move follows the much-anticipated release of CRB’s webcast royalty rates for 2016–2020, which was met with varying reviews, though generally was good news for many in U.S. commercial radio. In December, the National Association of Broadcasters said it was “pleased that streaming rates have begun to move in the right direction,” according to Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president of communications. Very small webcasters however have been howling.

Now, the CRB judges will move on to determining reasonable rates and terms for the use of certain copyrighted works by other entities.

The public broadcasting proceeding will set the rates and terms paid by noncommercial broadcasters to groups such as the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) and the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) for performance of musical works via over-the-air broadcasting.

The proceeding will set the rates for all noncommercial radio stations, including public broadcasters, educational stations, and other NCE radio stations for the years 2018 through 2022.

A separate rate-setting proceeding will look at the reproduction and distribution of “phonorecords,” defined as cassette tapes, CDs and albums. This rate will cover copies of songs as well as on-demand streaming and podcasts.

A third ratemaking proceeding will determine rates for the digital performance of sound recordings and the making of ephemeral recordings (the temporary copy of a song that’s needed to facilitate a radio station broadcast) for both satellite radio and preexisting subscription services.

Broadcasters who wish to comment on any of the proceedings must submit a $150 filing fee.

Under U.S. copyright law, CRB judges must commence a proceeding every five years to determine reasonable rates and terms to license the digital transmission of sound recordings and the making of ephemeral recordings.

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