The Senate passed the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008, a bill that grants webcasters, including radio stations that stream music over the Internet, the ability to negotiate new music streaming rates with SoundExchange, a group created to collect and distribute royalty payments. The bill is headed to the White House for the president’s signature.
The negotiated rate must be settled by Feb. 15, 2009; it would replace the high rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board and be active for 10 years.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, “NAB looks forward to sitting down quickly with SoundExchange to craft equitable streaming rates that enhance the online music experience and expose more artists to our listeners.”
Live 365, which represents small webcasters, said it would propose that, as part of any settlement, SoundExchange include the special rates and terms for small webcasters previously enacted by Congress.