- SoundExchange, the company that collects royalties for copyright holders in the music industry, has offered a compromise on fees for Internet broadcasters. Rather than charge Internet radio stations $500 per channel, SoundExchance would put a cap at $2,500 per radio service. Broadcasters, however, were unhappy that the proposal would expire as soon as 2008. The two sides have until July 15th to reach an agreement before the new licensing fees kick in. You can read Sherwin's blog post on the issue here.
(more after the jump)
SoundExchange is in the news again this week, this time arguing that radio stations should pay a performance fee to artists on top of the royalties they already pay to songwriters. Opponents of the change argue that radio play serves as a valuable advertisement for performers, and that new royalties would unnecessarily burden those remaining small independent radio stations. You can read our posts on the issue here and here.
Echoing similar calls from FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin, Qwest Communications this week proposed modifying the Universal Service Fund (USF) to subsidize broadband deployment. The USF was created in 1997 for telephone companies in urban areas to subsidize build-out in rural, low-profit markets. Qwest argues that the USF should now be used to fund broadband deployment in those areas as well. The change would however, cut funding to Qwest's wireless competitors.
The American Cable Association was – unsurprisingly – not happy that the FCC denied it's request to waive the new set-top box requirements. The ACA's President Matthew Polka said:
“At a time when consumer prices are rising, it is inexplicable that the FCC Media Bureau would deny small cable operators' waiver requests and force their subscribers to pay $2 to $3 or more per month for new cable boxes…”
Public Knowledge has repeatedly argued that the Cable industry's claim – that the set-top box requirements will raise prices for consumers – simply isn't true in the long run. You can read John Bergmayer's recent post on the issue here.