The U.S. Copyright Office on March 11 published its long-awaited interim regulations announcing notice and recordkeeping requirements for the use of sound recordings under two statutory licenses under

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The U.S. Copyright Office on March 11 published its long-awaited interim regulations announcing notice and recordkeeping requirements for the use of sound recordings under two statutory licenses under the Copyright Act.

The new regulations apply to eligible nonsubscription transmission services (Internet-only webcasters and broadcast simulcasters), new subscription services, preexisting satellite digital audio radio services (XM and SIRIUS Satellite Radio), and business establishment services.

"This is a step in the right direction," says John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange, the collective jointly controlled by representatives of performers and record labels. "The establishment of specific reporting requirements will facilitate the distribution of royalties to thousands of artists and labels that are entitled to share in these statutory royalties."

The regulations require digital music services to provide SoundExchange with detailed reports on the use of sound recordings for two weeks every calendar quarter.

The reports of use are to include specific identifying information that will enable SoundExchange to distribute the royalties paid under the statutory license to those copyright owners and performers entitled to such royalties.

The regulations announced by the Copyright Office apply only on a prospective basis and do not address how digital music services will provide SoundExchange with notice of the use of sound recordings prior to April 1, the so-called "historic" Web cast start-up period of Oct. 28, 1998 to March 31, 2004.

"This means that artists and labels will still not be able to receive any of the royalties paid by webcasters prior to April 1, 2004," says Barrie Kessler, COO of SoundExchange.

"Without guidance on how we can distribute previously collected royalties, the Copyright Office has precluded SoundExchange from distributing royalties to those artists and labels who have been waiting for over five years to receive compensation for the commercial use of their creative works."

The Copyright Office has not yet specified the manner in which reports of use are to be delivered in electronic format, which will hinder the start of processing the reports.


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