Royalty system amended

ASCAP will begin processing songwriter and publisher royalties from the sale of new digital technologies, ASCAP prez Morton Gould announced Friday.

Passage of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 earlier this year mandated the creation of two funds–the Musical Works Fund and the Sound Recording Fund–to compensate copyright owners for perceived losses from the sale of digital audio recorders and software (DAT, Digital Compact Cassette and Mini Disc).

Beneficiaries of the proviso include writers, publishers, featured recording artists, copyright owners of sound recordings and non-featured recording artists. Org will distribute royalties from the Musical Works Fund to writer and publisher members. It will collect and distribute royalties from the Sound Recordings Fund for those writer members who are also featured recording artists.

Distributions from the Musical Works Fund will be based on radio feature performances; distributions from the Sound Recordings Fund will be based on record sales.

Gould said distributions of digital royalties will be made at “a very nominal cost–in the order of 1% to 3% and possibly less.” ASCAP managing director Gloria Messinger said the organization expects the amount of money collected and distributed for 1992 — dating back only to October, when the law was passed — to be extremely small. She also noted that the Congressional Budget Office had estimated the monies at $ 73 million for 1993 and $ 105 million for 1994, but added, “We seem to be starting out kind of slowly to be reaching those figures.”

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