Groups agree on rates for mobile and online uses.

A partial settlement over publishers' royalty rates for digital uses was reached today (Sept. 29) as U.K. Copyright Tribunal proceeding were scheduled to begin in London. British labels' body BPI, Apple Computer and various mobile-phone operators agreed with authors' collecting society MCPS-PRS Alliance to U.K. rates for mobile and online uses of compositions.

Among the agreed rates for the three-year period beginning July 1, 2006, are:

8% of gross revenue for on-demand services (like permanent downloads and limited downloads), with minimum royalties ranging from 2 pence to 4 pence (3.8 cents to 7.5 cents) per track for permanent downloads, .22 pence (.28 cents) per stream for non-subscription streams, and 40 pence to 60 pence (75 cents to $1.13) per subscriber per month for subscription services for non-portable and portable services, respectively.

6.5% of gross revenue for non on-demand services (like webcasting), with minimum royalties ranging from .06 pence to .085 pence (.076 cents to 1.08 cents) per stream for webcasting and 22.5 pence (28.6 cents) per subscriber per month for subscription services.

The agreed rates are subject to various deductions ranging from 5%-15% for audiovisual content until a certain sales threshold is reached; for mobile services until certain mobile prices converge with online prices; and for advertising revenues to cover costs of acquiring the ads.

The parties to the settlement with the Alliance are BPI, Apple Computer, and mobile-phone operators Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange and 02.

While BPI is withdrawing from the proceeding, Apple and the mobile-phone operators are continuing to dispute whether certain advertising revenue should be included within a definition for gross revenue. Other parties not part of the settlement – and remaining part of the proceeding – are AOL, MusicNet, Napster, RealNetworks, Sony Connect and Yahoo.

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