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Webcasting royalty rates rejected

In what may prove to be good news for the Webcasting industry, the Library of
Congress has rejected a panel of judges' recommendation on royalty fees for
radio broadcasters and Webcasters that want to stream copyrighted songs over the

By law, the Librarian of Congress, James Billington, must issue a final
decision by June 20.

Webcasters have been lobbying fiercely against the recommended fees, which
the so-called Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel had suggested last
February at 0.07 cents per song, per listener for traditional radio broadcasters
that stream their signals on the Internet and 0.14 cents per song, per listener
for Internet-only radio stations.

The fees would be paid to record companies and artists, which initially wanted
them to be higher but ultimately were willing to stick with the recommended

Webcasters and broadcasters were also unhappy with some of the reporting
requirements in the CARP recommendation.

Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee cairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and
ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) both pushed the industries to negotiate an
independent settlement or said they would consider legislation.

"Why can't everyone -- Congress and artists and labels and Webcasters alike --
take the CARP as a genuine learning experience and sit down to determine what
is the next best step?" Leahy said at a hearing May 15. "If the parties can
avoid more expense and time and reach a negotiated outcome more satisfactory to
all participants, that would surely be preferable to rampant dissatisfaction."