ASCAP and local U.S. television stations have reached a performance royalty agreement that covers an unprecedented 11-year period.

ASCAP and local U.S. television stations have reached a performance royalty agreement that covers an unprecedented 11-year period.

ASCAP and the Television Music License Committee (TMLC), which represents more than 1,200 local stations, agreed on an annual flat-fee license rate -- or blanket license -- of $85 million, beginning Dec. 1. This amount is down from the previous $98.1 million annual rate stations have been paying since April 1998 while litigation between the parties was pending. The agreement is retroactive to 1998.

"The agreement reflects ASCAP's important position in the marketplace as well as the competitive environment in which we as broadcasters operate," says TMLC chairman Charles Sennet in a statement.

Under the blanket license, each station pays a portion of the annual fee, calculated according to the station's audience rating. The fee will increase in 2006 and each following year based on the prior year's increase in the Consumer Price Index.

The agreement also permits each station to license compositions for each program it broadcasts directly from the publishers rather than pay part of the annual fee. This per-program license often saves an individual station money, says Will Hoyt, executive director of the TMLC.

The terms will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2009. However, either party may elect to "opt out" of the agreement at the end of 2008.

The license covers both analog and digital transmission, as well as Internet streams of ASCAP music in local news programming and other promotional uses.

"Significant value for ASCAP members was accomplished as a result of true negotiation between the parties," says ASCAP senior VP of licensing Vincent Candilora in a statement. "And we are pleased that both sides were able to avoid the time and expense of trial."

The other U.S. performing rights organizations, BMI and SESAC, have separate agreements with the TMLC that run through the end of the year.