Newsflash: Webcaster Settlement Act

Save Net Radio reports today

“Legislation authorizing SoundExchange to negotiate royalty agreements with webcasters on behalf of copyright owners and performers before the end of the year has been approved by the U.S. Senate.  The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 (H.R. 7084), passed unanimously in the House of Representatives earlier this week, was approved by the Senate yesterday evening and now awaits President Bush’s signature.”

The Act offers a likely solution for webcasters, whose industry has been under threat since the March 2007 decision by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to massively increase royalty rates payable by internet broadcasters. Campaigns in support of netradio, appeals and proposed alternative legislation had run into stalemate, until recent moves by larger webcasters and royalties-collection agency SoundExchange towards a negotiated settlement. The Act allows SoundExchange to make agreements, which will have legal status, with webcasters on behalf of copyright holders.

It’s not yet a deal. Different sections of the industry- DIMA, small webcasters, NPR- have to arrive at settlements.

David Oxenford, whose Broadcast Law Blog  is an invaluable source of legal opinion on US media, has written extensively on the Internet Royalty dispute and represented small webcasters. He explains What the Act Means

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