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Music Firms, Broadcasters Settle on Web Royalties

Music and broadcasting companies told the U.S. government on Friday that they have tentatively settled on royalty rates that radio stations should pay when they stream their broadcasts over the Internet.

In a filing with the U.S. Copyright Office, attorneys for recording companies, performing-rights groups and radio stations said they had reached a tentative settlement on what those rates should be, but did not offer any specifics.

The two sides requested that the settlement be approved by the Copyright Office and removed from an ongoing arbitration hearing known as the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel, or CARP.

“The Settling Parties hereby request the Copyright Office to withdraw from the CARP proceeding the issue of the appropriate royalty rates for Internet transmission of their over-air programming by FCC-licensed broadcasters (other than public broadcasting entities),” the filing said.

Radio stations do not have to pay royalties to recording companies for songs they broadcast, but the Copyright Office and a federal appeals court have ruled that they need to pay when streaming the music through their Web sites.

The settlement did not include online-only radio stations, known as Webcasters, which are still locked in CARP hearings with music companies over the royalty rates they should pay. That session is expected to resolve in February.

Broadcasters signing the agreement included CBS Broadcasting Inc., a division of CBS Corp.; Entercom Communications Corp.; Clear Channel Communications Inc.; Salem Communications Corp.; Susquehanna Radio Corp.; and the National Religious Broadcasters Music License Committee.

Artists’ groups signing the agreement included the American Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

The Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group for large recording companies, and the Association for Independent Music also signed the agreement.

A spokeswoman for Clear Channel did not return phone calls, while the RIAA declined to comment.

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