Copyright proposal would up royalties

WASHINGTON — Record companies and music publishers have asked the U.S. Copyright Office to approve a deal that would boost copyright royalties for songwriters and music publishers by hundreds of millions of dollars.

For the first time, the settlement also proposes to extend a similar royalty to recordings distributed by digital transmission.

Under the settlement, on Jan. 1 the “physical phonorecord” royalty would increase from 6.95¢ to 7.1¢. It would continue to increase every two years until 2006, when the royalty would be 9.1¢.

The royalty is paid to copyright owners every time a recorded work is sold that includes one of their properties. For instance, if a songwriter authored a single track on a CD, they would be entitled to 7.1¢ for each CD sold.

The deal was worked out in talks that included the Recording Industry Assn. of America, the National Music Publishers Assn., the Songwriters Guild of America, the National Academy of Songwriters, the Nashville Songwriters Assn. and Amsong.

While approval of the deal by the U.S. Copyright Office would lock in the adjusted rates for most recordings for 10 years, the group agreed to review the digital copyright royalty provision in 1999.

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