LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – With a Saturday midnight deadline loomi…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – With a Saturday midnight deadline looming for controversial new Internet royalty rates to take effect, webcasters and the music industry continued to negotiate Friday afternoon to reduce the fee hike webcasters claim will be ruinous.

Royalties and fees owed by online radio stations will increase substantially Sunday, the first in a series of hikes that threaten to put much of the industry out of business. But webcasters got a stay of execution this week when SoundExchange — the royalty-collection agency for most record labels and artists — pledged not to enforce some of the most onerous new provisions while negotiations continued.

Having already extended new offers to small and independent webcasters, SoundExchange, which negotiates and collects royalties on behalf of music labels and artists, now must deal with large webcasters.

Those webcasters have loudly complained about the March Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision that would charge Internet broadcasters not only increased streaming fees but also a $500 per channel fee. Webcasters like AOL, Yahoo (Quote) and Pandora have hundreds of channels.

Thursday evening, SoundExchange offered to cap the $500 per channel minimum fee at $50,000 per year for webcasters who agree to provide more detailed reporting of the music they play.

“We believe that this minimum fee proposal addresses webcasters’ concerns about the minimum fee affecting webcasters with hundreds or even thousands of stations,” SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson said in a statement.

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