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

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?