Confusing Email or Letter from SoundExchange?

Did you receive an email or letter from SoundExchange that contains a lot of legal gibberish like this:

According to our records, you are the contact for a noncommercial educational webcaster that is currently relying on the statutory licenses set forth in Sections 112 and 114 of the U.S. Copyright Act (the “statutory license”) and has previously submitted payments to SoundExchange under the rates and terms available to certain eligible noncommercial educational webcasters pursuant to 37 C.F.R. Subpart C § 380.20 for the 2011 period.  We are writing to remind you about the obligations for noncommercial educational webcasters for 2012.

Our non-lawyer team who negotiated the legal issues with the assistance of counsel offer this advice:

If you are webcasting music and haven’t obtained permission for each and every selection aired, you need to pay SoundExchange.  It’s fairly simple.

  1.  Complete the notice of election.  If you received the email, you have already certified that your station meets the criteria as being primarily student run at an eligible institution.  If nothing has changed, you don’t need to worry about the criteria.
    1. In section II. you are asked to select a reporting option. The options are Reporting Waiver, Sample-Basis Reports, Census-Basis Reports.  Most stations will select reporting waiver. By selecting the reporting waiver option, you are certifying that your station never exceeded an average continuous listenership of more than 75 on your web streams in 2011 or expect to in 2012 (55,000 ATH) and you will need to pay an additional $100.   If this is not you and you don’t understand the other options, contact CBI!
    2. In order to be able to pay the $100 fee and not submit reports, you must submit the form by January 31, 2012 (if you are already webcasting – if you are not already webcasting, contact CBI).
    3. In section III you are asked to provide the name of the licensee.  Find your station at on the Copyright Office web site. and use the name you find as the licensee.  If this is different from the name of the school, enter the name of the school where it asks for the name of the parent on line 2.
    4. Complete the rest of the form and process a check (likely at the same time as you process the check for the $500 below).  This IS your invoice.  SoundExchange will not generate an invoice for you.
    5. Don’t stop here.
  2. Complete the Minimum Fee form.  Unless you exceed the numbers above, this is the only additional form you will need to complete this year.
    1. Line 1 of the form.  Enter the same name of licensee that you used on the previous form.
    2. Line 5, enter zero unless you previously made a payment for 2012.  We can’t imagine why any station would have done this.
    3. Complete the rest of the form and process a check.  This form IS your invoice.  SoundExchange will not generate one for you.
    4. Submit both items at the same time.  Do so before January 31, 2012 to continue receiving the discounted rates and reporting waiver CBI negotiated for you.

Questions?  Contact CBI!  Want to start webcasting/haven’t received the form?  Contact CBI!  Think your copyright fees are paid by a membership in an organization?  Unless your primarily student-staffed station 1) receives funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or 2) has a subscription with a streaming provider that expressly includes the royalty fees, your station or institution must pay the fee if you stream online.  If you are uncertain, get the facts by contacting CBI!

By | November 29th, 2011|Broadcasting News, Webcasting|Comments Off on Confusing Email or Letter from SoundExchange?

Webcasting Victory for Student Stations!

Student stations achieved a victory in the webcasting arena!  The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) agreed to adopt a settlement between CBI and SoundExchange that does not raise the minimum fee which all most student stations’ pay and provides much needed relief from burdensome recordkeeping requirements.  See our press release on this topic. While these rates and terms have been available to student stations that opted into the agreement under the Webcasting Settlement Act of 2009, the adoption of the agreement sets an important precedent in future proceedings.

Prior to the adoption of the CBI-SX settlement, the CRB considered all non-commercial stations and webcasters to be equal, which is contrary to precedent under other copyright proceedings.  For the first time, student stations are being considered a distinct class of non-commercial entities.  While the rates for non-student stations (other than NPR or NFCB stations) are the same as for student stations, only student stations are eligible to for relief from the enormous recordkeeping and reporting reporting requirements.

Student stations with small web audiences may either pay a proxy fee or submit sample reports of use without providing audience data.  Stations with a bit larger audience may submit reports on a sample basis, but may not elect the proxy fee option, but are still exempt from highly detailed information concerning audience size.  The stations with the largest audiences must provide census, not sample data, but are still exempted from the detailed information concerning audiences under the CRB determination.

A copy of the CRB findings is available here.  This is a 137 page document.

Another organization tried to obtain lower minimum fees for student stations, but apparently failed to support its arguments.  Page 51- 64 are the most relevant.

Our Webcasting Guide has not been updated to reflect the CRB action, but at the moment, that does not appear to matter, as SX has not changed any of the forms.  If you have questions about copyrights, webcasting or other issues, please use our contact page and we will respond to your inquiry promptly.

By | December 20th, 2010|Webcasting|Comments Off on Webcasting Victory for Student Stations!

Webcasting Rates 2011-2015

Webcasting issues can be confusing.  With different audio/radio stations paying different rates (commercial, “pureplay”, NPR and college/school stations, you will likely read and hear about many different fee structures and recordkeeping/reporting requirements.  CBI sets the facts straight with respect to stations at schools and colleges that are not NPR/CPB qualified on our webcasting pages.  Despite conflicting information you may find elsewhere, CBI’s information is based on fact with links to the pertinent law.  CBI is active in every step on behalf of members of the association.

For those wanting to know about the current situation, we summarize below.

– Fees for 2006-2010.  CBI and others appealed the amount of the minimum fee of $500 for this period.  MOST stations eligible to CBI members must pay the minimum fee and no more.  Our appeal of the minimum fee was remanded back to the Copyright Royalty Board in order for it to adjust, if necessary the amount of the minimum fee.  CBI has reached a compromise with SoundExchange concerning the minimum fee for 2009 and 2010 which allows stations to pay the minimum fee and opt-in to special reporting terms for that period.  After CBI reached this agreement, it withdrew from the remand proceeding.  There is only one entity left participating in that proceeding and the hearing on that case is expected to take place on May 18, 2010. CBI does not anticipate that the minimum fee will change.

– Fees for 2011-2015 are the subject of a legal proceeding that is now in progress.  Most CBI eligible stations may elect to participate in a settlement CBI reached with SoundExchange (see our guide) under the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009.  CBI is a participant in that proceeding and has asked the Copyright Royalty Judges to adopt the terms and rates of that settlement in the legal proceeding.  A hearing on settlements is scheduled for May 5.

– Recordkeeping/Reports of Use.  CBI and others filed comments concerning recordkeeping issues last year.  CBI has been active on behalf of its members and eligible for years with numerous legal filings.  Information about recordkeeping proceedings is available on our recordkeeping/reports of use page and in the guide.  In short, the current status is that stations must submit reports of use or pay a waiver fee.  The level of reporting differs with the various options.   Under the CBI settlement, stations have the option of paying the waiver fee, or submitting limited information.  Under the regulations, BROADCAST STATIONS must report some data.  Webcasting only stations must report more data if they exceed a prescribed audience size.  Again, refer to the links!

– Appeal of Recordkeeping/Reports of Use Rules.  CBI has appealed the regulations implemented by the Copyright Royalty Judges, with another party joining the CBI appeal.  This matter is currently before the courts, but could become a non-issue for stations that opt-in to the CBI settlement provisions for 2009-2010 and if the Copyright Royalty Judges adopt the settlement before them as proposed by CBI and SoundExchange.

– Summary.  It is our hope that the CBI settlement will become law.   This will allow stations to just pay and report (if necessary) under the terms of the CBI settlement and not need to follow procedures to opt-in to the settlement.  The reporting requirements under the settlement are far easier for stations to comply with than anything else offered anywhere.  These issues could be resolved in May, but the Copyright Royalty Judges are not required to settle these issues until November or December.  Even at that point, the outcome could be appealed.

Still confused?  Don’t be.  Call or email us with questions!

By | April 25th, 2010|Webcasting|Comments Off on Webcasting Rates 2011-2015

1/31 Deadline for Webcasting Fee Payments and No/Reduced Recordkeeping Option Deadlines

If your radio station is webcasting sound recordings without having obtained royalty waivers, your station must make some decisions and pay the annual minimum fee prior to January 31, 2010.

Royalty Fees for the webcasting of sound recordings are paid on an annual basis each January.  The minimum fee is $500.

Stations also need to make a decision as to whether they want to opt-in to the CBI negotiated settlement that offers an option to pay a fee instead of submitting the required reports of use or submit reports that don’t require ATH or ATP data.  For many broadcast stations, this option makes is a great choice.  For unlicensed (those without an FCC broadcast license) stations, opting into the CBI negotiated settlement may be the only viable option as the new recordkeeping regulations require your station to submit reports of use (artist, song, album, label and listeners to each song played) on monthly basis for the entire month.  By opting into the CBI settlement, these stations can, in most cases, either pay $100 and report nothing or report some data and not pay the fee.

More in depth information is available on the 2010 CBI guide to webcasting for Educational Stations page.  Use our contact page for questions.

By | January 17th, 2010|Webcasting|Comments Off on 1/31 Deadline for Webcasting Fee Payments and No/Reduced Recordkeeping Option Deadlines

Partial Win as the CRB Announces New Reporting Requirements for webcasters

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued a decision that updated the recordkeeping and reporting requirements for webcasters.  The results are a partial win for CBI members.  The CRB started the process of updating the rules with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on December 30, 2008, while most college stations were on break.   The CRB refused to extend the comment deadline, even though CBI and WHRB requested more time for educational stations to file comments because of the winter break.


By | October 15th, 2009|Webcasting|Comments Off on Partial Win as the CRB Announces New Reporting Requirements for webcasters

CBI Reaches Webcasting Settlement Through 2016!

CBI has been working long and hard to address the most troublesome the legal issues concerning webcasting for student college radio stations.  We have achieved results along the way (SWSA settlement of 2003, less stringent recordkeeping and reporting requirements than proposed, etc.) After years of filing comments, visiting with lawmakers, surveying members, etc., etc., etc.,  we are now able to report that we have achieved meaningful, long-term results through a settlement under the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 and potentially more!  Some highlights…

  • Stations that average under 75 simultaneous users will have the option of submitting reports of use that do not require any audience data (ATH of ATP) or paying a $100 proxy fee in lieu of any reporting.
  • Stations with an average concurrent audience of over 75 will be required to submit reports of use, but they will not have to submit audience data.
  • The fee for these stations remains at $500 annually through 2016 unless the station has an ATH above 159, 140 (~208 average concurrent users in any month).


By | August 1st, 2009|Broadcasting News, CBI News, Conferences, Contests, Member News, Station Profile, Webcasting|Comments Off on CBI Reaches Webcasting Settlement Through 2016!

CBI and Others File Comments Regarding Webcasting Rules

In December of 2008, the Copyright Royalty Judges (“CRJs”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (“NPRM”) which contained proposals to increase the recordkeeping requirements.  Specifically, the CRJs proposed that all webcasters using copyrighted music w/o releases would need to report each and every song played throughout the year, which is known as census reporting.  Currently, stations operating under the statutory license only need to report two one week samples per calendar quarter.  The CRJs also proposed that reports would need to be filed with SoundExchange on a monthly basis.  Further, the CRJs proposed to require stations to report the number of listners to each and every song, which is known as Actual Total Performances (“ATP”), rather than the currently permitted Aggregate Tuning Hours (“ATH”).  ATH is a metric which tells how many people listened to the webcast over a period of time, in this case, the two one week periods being sampled.  For background information, see our our coverage here

In response to the comments submitted by CBI and other parties, the CRJs issued a Notice of Inquiry, which asked a number of questions pertinent to the proceeding. To see some of the submitted comments, see this page.

By | May 28th, 2009|Broadcasting News, Webcasting|Comments Off on CBI and Others File Comments Regarding Webcasting Rules

Webcasting survey even for those not webcasting!

CBI is conducting a survey of college and high school stations in response to a proposal, by the Copyright Royalty Board,  to increase the burdens stations face when webcasting.  We are seeking input from all stations, even if they are not currently webcasting.  The survey is available at http://tinyurl.com/CBI-recordkeeeping-survey .
The proposal seeks to implement census reporting, which would mean keeping track of all songs played (for which a release has not been obtained from the copyright owner) including the song title, artist, album and record label.  The data gathered would need to be submitted monthly.

In addition, stations are currently allowed to report the size of their audience by using Aggregate Tuning Hours (ATH) covering the current reporting period of 8 weeks per year, but under the proposal, stations would no longer be able to use ATH, which is a measure of all listening.  Instead they would be required to count each and every connection to each and every song, regardless of thelength connection, even if it happens through automated ‘bots’.

We believe that these proposed changes will have a strong impact on the ability of stations like yours whether you are currently webcasting sound recordings think you may want to sometime in the future.

We know this is a busy time of year for you, so we have kept the survey as short as possible while still gathering the needed information.
Please take a few minutes to take the survey at http://tinyurl.com/CBI-recordkeeeping-survey

For more background information on this issue, see our previous posts.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask by calling 713-348-2935.

By | April 24th, 2009|Webcasting|Comments Off on Webcasting survey even for those not webcasting!

REQUIRED Webcasting Reports

As detailed here, proposed new regulations would webcasting stations to submit monthly reports about each song webcast on a 24/7/365 basis.  This is a dramatic shift from the current requirements to submit reports for two-seven day periods each calendar quarter.  This is known as Census reporting.  In addition, these reports would be required to be submitted within 45 days after the end of each month.

As if that weren’t enough, the proposed regulations would also require that webcasters report count each and every connection to each and every song, regardless of length.  This is known as Actual Total Performances (“ATP”).   As detailed in the referenced link above, CBI and a number of college and High School stations staffed by students filed comments protesting the proposed regulations.  In response, the Copyright Royalty Judges (“CRJs”) issued a Notice of Inquiry, which asked a number of questions.

In order to help the CRJs understand how these proposed changes will impact your station, CBI is developing a survey to gather information from all educational, even if they are not currently webcasting.  The survey should be released by the end of the week and a link will be posted to the site, to the CBI email lists and sent via email to stations across the nation.  CBI knows that this is a very busy time of year, so we have kept the survey as short as possible in order to gather as many responses as possible.  If you do not receive email by the end of the week with a link to the survey, please come back to the site for the link!

By | April 21st, 2009|Webcasting|Comments Off on REQUIRED Webcasting Reports