SoundExchange is reporting that 24 small webcasters have signed agreements
accepting settlement terms to pay royalties for streamed recordings at rates
lower than those set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) earlier this year.
The agreements cover royalties due from Jan. 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2010, which is the period covered by the CRB decision. Other details of the settlement -- and whether each agreement has the same terms -- were not available. But SoundExchange describes the agreements as "essentially" the same as those provided under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act, which expired in 2005.
Under that legislation, webcasters whose gross revenue did not exceed $1.25
million had the option to pay a royalty per stream at rates equal to large
webcasters or to pay royalties based on the webcaster's revenue or expenses,
which ranged from 10%-12% of revenue or 7% of the webcaster's annual
expenses, with minimum payments ranging from $2,000-$5,000 per year.
SoundExchange, the government-authorized organization that licenses and
collects royalties for digital streams of sound recordings over non-interactive services, declined to reveal the names of those webcasters who signed the settlement agreements or the number of small webcasters who received settlement offers.
"As a matter of policy and under the regulations, we do not disclose proprietary business information about our licensees," a SoundExchange spokesman said.
SoundExchange also said in a statement today that "other" small webcasters are in the process of signing settlement agreements, while still others opted not to sign deals either "because their business models benefit more from the regular commercial rates" or "because they operate via webcast aggregators who handle payments on their behalf." SoundExchange also declined to identify these webcasters.