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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 19:41 GMT
Deal over web radio royalties
Many radio stations also broadcast their shows on the internet
Many stations also broadcast their shows on the internet
Musicians in the United States have reached a tentative agreement with radio stations over how much should be paid in royalties when a broadcast is streamed over the internet.

Two other deals over royalty payments have also been struck that will help clarify outstanding music copyright issues.

In the internet radio case, musicians' groups, record companies and radio stations had been involved in an arbitration hearing to reach an agreement on how much should be paid in royalties.

In November, musicians and other copyright holders won a battle with record companies over who should receive the royalty money when songs are broadcast on cable, satellite and the internet.

Webcasters

The new deal covers internet streams of shows that are already broadcast over the airwaves by radio stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

It does not cover web-only broadcasters, who are still in arbitration talks expected to last until February.

Listening to music on the internet has become easier and better quality
Listening to music on the internet has become easier and better quality
The two sides filed a request with the Copyright Office for the deal to be accepted and ended the hearing known as the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP).

The filing declares: "The Settling Parties hereby request the Copyright Office to withdraw from the CARP proceeding the issue of the appropriate royalty rates for internet transmission of their over-air programming by FCC-licensed broadcasters (other than public broadcasting entities)."

No details of the agreed fee were revealed.

When negotiations began earlier this year, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) wanted 15 cents per hour of streamed music.

But the radio stations and webcasters were offering royalty rates 27 times less than what the record companies wanted at that time.

'Legitimate'

A deal has also been announced between United States performing rights organisation BMI and two of the biggest music sites on the web, Yahoo! Music and Microsoft's MSN Launch.

It will mean BMI will keep track of how many times artists' songs are listened to through the sites and distribute royalties to copyright holders accordingly.

BMI vice president Richard Conlon said the agreement would help to build the internet as a "legitimate venue" for the performance of music.

Fund projects

In another development, the United States and the European Union (EU) have reached a temporary agreement in a copyright row after the treatment of European musicians under a US copyright law was ruled illegal.

Musicians and composers, led by Irish representatives, had complained that they were losing out on millions of dollars because the 1998 Copyright Act meant most bars, restaurants and shops did not have to pay royalty fees for music they played.

The World Trade Organisation ruled that part of the act was illegal last year.

The US will now give money to projects and activities for European musicians and composers, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has said.

See also:

11 Nov 01 | New Media
Musicians win web royalties fight
31 Jul 01 | New Media
Negotiators join web royalty row
12 Apr 01 | New Media
Internet radio faces royalty row
10 Dec 01 | New Media
Napster's next step in court
04 Dec 01 | New Media
MusicNet launches battle for fans
11 Dec 01 | New Media
Pressplay users can 'burn' CDs
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Internet broadcasting's brief history
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Internet broadcasting's fuzzy future?
11 May 00 | UK
Net boosts radio figures
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