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June 11, 2021

Copyright Royalty Judges Announce Determination on Rates in Web V Proceeding

The Copyright Royalty Judges today issued their written determination of royalty rates and terms to apply from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2025, to digital performances of sound recordings over the Internet by nonexempt, noninteractive transmission services (webcasters) and to the making of ephemeral recordings to facilitate those performances. The written determination is currently being reviewed by the parties to the proceeding to determine which portions, if any, contain confidential information that must be redacted from the version that will be released to the public through the Copyright Royalty Board’s Electronic Filing and Case Management System (eCRB).

The rate for commercial subscription services in 2021 is $0.0026 per performance. The rate for commercial nonsubscription services in 2021 is $0.0021 per performance. The rates for the period 2022 through 2025 for both subscription and nonsubscription services shall be adjusted to reflect the increases or decreases, if any, in the general price level, as measured by the change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (U.S. City Average, all items) (CPI-U) from that published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in November 2020, as set forth in the regulations adopted by the determination.

The rates for noncommercial webcasters are: $1000 annually for each station or channel for all webcast transmissions totaling not more than 159,140 Aggregate Tuning Hours (ATH) in a month, for each year in the rate term. In addition, if, in any month, a noncommercial webcaster makes total transmissions in excess of 159,140 ATH on any individual channel or station, the noncommercial webcaster shall pay per-performance royalty fees for the transmissions it makes on that channel or station in excess of 159,140 ATH at the rate of $0.0021 per performance in 2021. The rates for transmissions over 159,140 ATH per month for the period 2022 through 2025 shall be adjusted to reflect the increases or decreases, if any, in the general price level, as measured by the changes in the CPI-U from that published by BLS in November 2020, as set forth in the regulations adopted by the determination.

The Judges also determined details relating to the rates for each category of webcasting service, such as minimum fee and administrative terms. The regulatory language codifying the terms of the Judges’ determination is available on the Copyright Royalty Board website at crb.gov/rate/.

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About Us

The Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004 (CRDRA) established the Copyright Royalty Judges program in the Library of Congress. The Copyright Royalty Judges (Judges) oversee the copyright law’s statutory licenses, which permit qualified parties to use multiple copyrighted works without obtaining separate licenses from each copyright owner.

The Judges determine and adjust royalty rates and terms applicable to the statutory copyright licenses. They also oversee distribution of royalties deposited with the Copyright Office by certain statutory licensees and adjudicate controversies relating to the distributions.

The Judges are appointed by the Librarian of Congress to serve staggered six-year terms. Each may be reappointed to subsequent six-year terms.

Under the CRDRA, each judge must have a law degree and at least seven years’ legal experience. In addition, one judge must have significant knowledge of copyright law, one must have significant knowledge of economics, and one must have a minimum of five years’ judicial or quasi-judicial experience. The board of Judges consists of Judge Jesse M. Feder (chief judge), Judge David R. Strickler (economics), and Judge Steve Ruwe (copyright). Judge Feder’s current term ends in January 2024; Judge Strickler’s current term ends in January 2022; and Judge Ruwe’s current term ends in December 2025.

Jesse M. Feder, Chief Copyright Royalty Judge

Jesse M. FederChief Copyright Royalty Judge

David Strickler, Copyright Royalty Judge

David R. StricklerCopyright Royalty Judge

Steve Ruwe, Copyright Royalty Judge

Steve RuweCopyright Royalty Judge

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