Internet radio royalty rates agreed On

The two sides agreed on how much big webcasters like Yahoo!, America Online, Microsoft and RealNetworks must pay to broadcast songs over the Internet during 2003 and 2004.

The new deal, if approved by the U.S. Copyright Office, will allow the two industries to avoid a lengthy arbitration process to set the royalty rates.

Jonathan Potter, executive director of the Digital Media Association, which represents webcasters, said that by saving his industry millions of dollars in legal fees, the agreement will allow webcasters to focus on providing “high-quality programming that is enjoyed by millions of listeners.”

Internet radio, either simulcasts of traditional over-the-air radio or Internet-only stations streamed over the Internet to computers, is becoming more popular as people get high-speed connections.

A 1998 law required that organizations broadcasting music and other radio content over the Internet pay fees to record companies to compensate artists and music labels for use of their songs.

After the two sides were unable agree on rates on their own, the Copyright Office ruled in June that webcasters must pay about 70 cents for every song heard by 1,000 listeners as counted by the webcasters.

The larger webcasters complained the fees, which they paid retroactively back to 1998, cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars for each year, more than some of them get from advertising or listener contributions.

The Copyright Office was to begin another arbitration between the parties next month to work out royalty payments for 2003 and 2004. The new deal, if approved, will make that process unnecessary.

The agreement proposes a per-song rate similar to that set by the government last year, but allows 4 percent of a webcasters’ songs to be free from royalties. The proposal also gives webcasters the option of paying royalties as a percentage of their revenue or at an hourly rate.

Potter said those choices will allow webcasters to save money by picking the method that works best for them.

The new proposal does not apply to Internet simulcasts of traditional over-the-air radio or to noncommercial webcasters such as college radio stations.

Small webcasters, typically operations that are listener-supported and reach, at most, just a few thousand people, had complained the Copyright Office rates would force them out of business. Legislation passed last year allowed them to pay less.

Those small webcasters can choose to keep paying those rates or follow the new ones.

You can discuss this hot topic in our message boards.

Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Music

The best new music this week: James Blake, Maggie Rogers, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: James Blake, Maggie Rogers, Deerhunter, Juliana Hatfield, Pedro The Lion, Sharon Van Etten, Steve Gunn, and Toro y Moi.
Music

Jam out in hi-fi style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Computing

How good are you at spotting phishing scams? Take this quiz to find out

Are you able to discern between a legitimate email and one that's a scam designed to phish for your personal information? Google created an online quiz with tips to help you better understand phishing so you don't become a victim.
Gaming

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.
Computing

Zipping files on a Chromebook? Follow these four easy steps

Chromebooks support file compression, though they work a little differently than on Windows or Mac. Here's the step-by-step process to zipping files on a Chromebook, and then unzipping them again for extraction.
Computing

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.
Computing

Patent application reveals what’s to come after AMD’s Graphics Core Next

A published patent application from AMD has revealed a new type of graphics processor core which could make a big difference to the capabilities of its GPUs if it finds its way into them in the future.
Computing

Microsoft targets Chrome OS with $189 Windows 10 laptops for education

Microsoft announced seven new low-cost Windows 10 laptops, all priced under $300 to take on Chromebooks and iPads in the education market, along with a new Microsoft Allora stylus for students using the Surface Go tablet.
Computing

Lenovo patent hints at a future tablet with a folding screen

Folding devices are a new trend, and according to a recent patent, Lenovo is considering a foldable 2-in-1 with a hinge mechanism that would allow consumers to bend back the screen on the device. 
Computing

Wifi Porter is a high-tech block of wood that lets you share your broadband

Tired of manually connecting your guests to your home Wi-Fi network? The latest invention from the folks at Ten One Design, the WifiPorter, allow individuals to connect to your Wi-Fi with the tap of their phone, or by scanning an available…