AFTRA Backs Giving Small Webcasters Royalty Relief


The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists supports giving small Webcasters a break on payments for performances streamed on the Internet.

That came in response to a request from the house Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, which had asked performers and small Webcasters to negotiate privately.

AFTRA is supporting a proposal by SoundExchange which is pushing for fair compensation for Internet performances on behalf of recording companies and artists. SoundExchange said it is willing to extend the terms (with some modification) of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act until 2010. The act, which sunset in 2005, subsidized smaller niche online audio sites by charging them below-market royalty rates.

"AFTRA recording artists want webcasters to succeed, especially small niche webcasters who introduce the passion and excitement of diverse forms of music to fans around the world," said AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth in announcing AFTRA's support.

The Copyright Royalty Board recently set new rates and required back payments for performances in some cases, with some smaller Webcasters, and some in Congress, concerned the new rate could price them out of the market.