SoundExchange To Distribute Webcast Royalties

Court rejects appeals by broadcasters, content owners.

SoundExchange, the label/artist collection and distribution group, can now distribute $11 million in initial Webcast royalties from Oct. 28, 1998 through Dec. 31, 2004, now that the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia on Jan. 12 rejected appeals over the fairness of the rates set by the Librarian of Congress in June 2002. Both broadcasters and content owners appealed.

The broadcasters claimed the final rates were set arbitrarily and are too high. The RIAA and other copyright owners argued that the final rates are too low because the Librarian did not consider agreements reached privately between labels and Webcasters.

The now-dismantled Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) set the initial rates, which were later adjusted by the Librarian.

The court also rejected a petition for review of the rates by Webcasters that did not participate in the CARP, saying these Webcasters have no standing to join the case.

Not counting the new distribution, due in spring, SoundExchange has allocated $22.5 million in Webcast royalties due to labels and artists.


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