Discord between music webcasters, recording industry

Webcasters say the recording industry is demanding unrelated charges

Large music webcasters are claiming the recording industry is "backtracking" on its offer to compromise with them over new, higher royalty rates that went into effect in March and were to be paid on July 15.

The Digital Media Association (DiMA), which represents large webcasters including Pandora.com and Yahoo Music, said the recording industry is demanding unrelated "technology mandates that are unreasonable, unworkable and way off-topic," before implementing the compromise.

In a statement, Jonathan Potter, the DiMA's executive director, said the latest turn of events is "disappointing." A DiMA spokesman said Potter would not comment further.

In an interview last week regarding the proposed compromise with the large webcasters, SoundExchange spokesman Richard Ades said his organization also asked that large Internet radio broadcasters implement better anti-stream ripping technology, which copies sound recordings in webcasts, and better reporting of how much music is streamed. Ades said the DiMA was well aware of the request, which was made at a recent roundtable discussion with members of Congress.

"This is just political posturing on their part," he said on Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, SoundExchange Inc., the nonprofit organization set up by the Recording Industry Association of America to collect the so-called digital performance royalties for recording artists and record companies, agreed to cap the US$500 per channel fee for large webcasters at US$50,000 per year, a figure that would last through 2010 or for the life of the new, higher rates.

In a separate deal, SoundExchange also offered to extend 1998-era below-market rates to small commercial webcasters, and to keep rates at 2003 levels for thousands of noncommercial webcasters. These small commercial and noncommercial groups are not involved in the latest feud.

While all the parties are involved in negotiations, SoundExchange has agreed not to collect the new royalty fees.

In a volley of letters between SoundExchange and the DiMA last week, each side accuses the other of blocking the path to a compromise.

"I have reviewed your press release of this morning and I am compelled to respond to the Digital Media Association's (DiMA) pattern of misinformation, mischaracterization and political maneuvering at a time when we should all be focused on negotiating, as several members of Congress have urged," said John Simson, Sound Exchange's executive director, in a letter sent to the DiMA and e-mailed to Computerworld. "Your comments over the weekend and this morning are, at best, disingenuous. SoundExchange is not "backtracking" on its offer from the roundtable. Rather, you are intentionally mischaracterizing our proposal."

The new rates were set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) of the Library of Congress in early March and went into effect May 1, retroactive to the start of last year. The rate increase would at least triple the amount of royalties Internet radio broadcasters must pay to copyright holders per song, and it has been challenged by webcasters, Internet radio listeners and more than 6,000 artists over the past several months.

A number of U.S. legislators have been trying to broker a deal among the sides.

Several weeks ago a federal appeals court denied a petition from music webcaster associations for an emergency stay of the royalty rates.

Despite the harsh words, bot the DiMA and Sound Exchange say they are willing to continue negotiations.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?