2nd Class Status For Indie Music Avoided As Pandora, Webcasters Told To Pay Same Rates As Majors, A2IM Responds
[UPDATED] A recent question from the Copyright Royalty Board the the U.S. Register Of Copyrights sent shock waves through the independent music community. Could webacasters pay major and indie labels different rates? The answer, for at least 5 more years, is no.
It turned out to be a non-ruling, but the effect is the same. Indie artists and labels will not be paid less by webcasters than their major label counterparts. After ruling that the Copyright Royalty Board had waited to long to ask, the U.S. Register of Copyrights effectively left the question unanswered for at least 5 more years.
"The question referred by the Judges asked whether they were prohibited by the governing statutes from setting rates and terms that may differ across different types of categories of licensors – in essence, whether they can set statutory webcasting royalty rates that vary depending on the identity or category of the record company that owns the recordings performed by a webcaster," a Pandora press release noted. "The Register further stated that because all participants in the Web IV proceeding had assumed a non-differentiated rate structure for licensors, that is the only reasonable outcome in the Web IV proceeding."
"Pandora supports a uniform rate structure for all musicians," said Dave Grimaldi, director of public affairs at Pandora in a press release. "We look forward to the certainty the CRB's December decision will bring to the music industry, particularly as Pandora continues to improve our partnerships with music makers."
Response From A2IM Interim President Molly Neuman:
“This is a win for independents everywhere, including the artists and the independent publishers who stood with us on this issue. However, the battle for a fair and equitable licensing system continues, as long as the multiple rate question remains unsettled for future proceedings and companies like Sony and Universal work towards getting government to enshrine an unfair advantage for just the biggest companies.”