TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Web Radio Stations Set for "Day of Silence" Protest

Re: Web Radio Stations Set for "Day of Silence" Protest

Neal McLain (
Fri, 29 Jun 2007 21:32:46 -0500 wrote:

> I presume the determination of royalties is a private issue set by
> contract between artist and user. I would be very surprised if the
> copyright law or some US Government agency determines the amount of
> the royalty.

Koos van den Hout <> responded:

> The landscape on how much a 'broadcaster' has to pay to play a
> song is a lot more complicated than that. Law, contracts, rulings
> all come into play.

Well, yes, but I think that statement needs clarification.

Under US law, the royalties that a 'broadcaster' (i.e., the licensee
of a radio or television broadcast station) must pay depend on how the
signal is distributed:

- For signals transmitted OVER THE AIR, royalties are indeed "set
by contract between artist and user" (as Lisa suggests), subject
to "Law, contracts, [and court] rulings" (as Koos asserts).

- For signals streamed OVER THE INTERNET, royalties are set by
the Copyright Royalty Board.


> Is that a US Government agency? Sounds more like a private sector
> cooperative arrangement.


> It is an agency with a government mandate run by the major record
> label that gets to do 'government' work in winning royalties:
> sound exchange.

Sound exchange is an organization that represents artists and record
labels. It does not determine royalty fees; the CRB determines them.

Sound exchange is simply a voice (a loud one, to be sure) among the sea
of voices clamoring for favorable decisions by the CRB.

From its website:

SoundExchange is a non-profit organization representing more
than 20,000 artists, 2,500 independent record labels and the
four major record companies for the collection and distribution
of digital performance royalties for recording artists and sound
recording copyright owners (usually a record label) when their
sound recordings are performed on Internet radio, satellite
radio and digital cable.

Neal McLain

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