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Copyright Judges Approve Public Radio Pay to SoundExchange

The three judges who make up the Copyright Royalty Board have approved the settlement between the Sound Exchange and the public radio networks.

The three judges who make up the Copyright Royalty Board have approved the settlement between the SoundExchange and the public radio networks. As a result of that settlement, NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International, Public Radio Exchange and up to 530 originating public radio stations as named by Corporation for Public Broadcasting will pay $2.8 million annually, divided into in 5 installments, through 2019. That rate is up from the $2.4 million in annual payments made during the previous term.


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As part of the settlement, each public radio station will pay a minimum royalty of $500 a year, the same as it was previously. Moreover, the settlement provides a mechanism that allows the number of stations taking part to be increased. Also, five percent of the payments will be compensation for ephemeral rights, which allow for storage of the reproductions of recordings that are broadcast on the stations’ servers. According to the determination, the payments cover 285,132,065 aggregate tuning hours, or the total hours of programming.

While the payments will ultimately be made to SoundExchange for disbursal to labels and recording artists, the CRB did not yet approve part of the settlement which designates them as a collective entity. In order to be in compliance with the law, that designation will be approved when CRB is done setting all rates for all webcasters, not just the public radio sector.

The CRB determination must still be reviewed the Register of the U.S. Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, to see if the approved settlement is in compliance with the law.