All stations that webcast copyrighted music must pay royalties to the copyright owners. There are multiple copyrights that apply. To keep it simple, CBI offers the following and welcomes questions concerning the details.
Paying the writers…
ASCAP, BMI and SESAC represent the vast majority of those who compose the music we hear. The composers are due a copyright fee when their works are performed on your station, regardless of whether it is webcast, broadcast or used in some other manner.
The good news is that most school’s already posses a license to cover these fees and the station incurs no fiscal liability for the webcast. The two common exceptions to this are for broadcast stations. College broadcast stations must also pay ASCAP and SESAC a broadcast fee, while the BMI license includes this fee in its ‘blanket’ license. Fortunately, most schools foot this bill as a part of the blanket license.
The good news is that ALL THREE have agreed to include webcasting fees in the schools ‘blanket’ license. In almost all cases, that means your webcasting activities do not cost the station any more $$$$ with respect to the writers!
Sound Recording Copyrights
Congress has passed laws that require stations that webcast to pay royalties for the “Sound Recordings”. This means that the performers of the musical compositions and those that hold the rights to their recordings (read the record labels in most cases) need to be compensated when you webcast their music. The rates and terms associated with the use of the sound recording have been highly debated for a number of years. Due to the inability to reach a settlement on the rates and terms with webcasters and political pressure from various organizations, such as CBI, Congress passed legislation that allowed small entities to negotiate a deal separate from the larger entities. As a result, CBI and others were able to reach a settlement which put the cost for most stations at $275 per year (colleges with more than 10,000 enrolled paid $525 in 2004). In 2006, the cost for most CBI members and stations eligible for membership changed to $500 per year, regardless of enrollment, plus certain recordkeeping/reporting requirements.
CBI has been actively involved in the process of representing student stations, like yours, and has reduced or eliminated the recordkeeping burden via options which are now part of federal regulations due to our negotiated settlement and legal efforts. The details of what we were able to negotiate and the choices you have are available to you as you read through other pages under our webcasting tab. If you have questions, please call us or use our contact page to ask questions.