Washington, D.C. (August 27, 2007)–SoundExchange has begun sending formal offers to qualified small webcasters that, the organization says, would allow them to continue operating through 2010 under essentially the same terms they have enjoyed under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (SWSA).
The offer is said to be in response to concerns expressed by many small commercial webcasters and consistent with a request made by Congressmen Howard Berman (D-CA) and Howard Coble (R-NC). According to a statement from SoundExhange, this offer means that qualified small commercial webcasters would be guaranteed the same rates through 2010 that they have received since 1998 for the use of sound recordings owned by SoundExchange members. Sound recordings of non-members would still be subject to the new rates.
Qualified small commercial webcasters who sign the agreement will be able to stream sound recordings of any and all SoundExchange members at subsidized rates. SoundExchange represents more than 20,000 recording artists and 3,500 record labels, including all the major recording companies. As part of the agreement, small webcasters (defined as those earning $1.25 million or less in total revenues) would pay royalty fees of 10 or 12 percent of revenue. The proposal also includes a usage cap to ensure that this subsidy is used only by webcasters of a certain size who are forming or strengthening their businesses.
Small webcasters would have until September 14, 2007 to accept the agreement. Small webcasters who do not sign the agreement, but continue streaming, will be responsible for paying the new rates first announced by the Copyright Royalty Judges (CRJs) in March, the first payment of which was due July 15, 2007.
Several small webcasters not party to ongoing negotiations have been asking for the opportunity to enter agreements based on SoundExchange’s offer of May 22, and SoundExchange is responding to those requests by sending agreements directly to small webcasters, according to the statement.