As expected (and as we predicted here), the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has reinstated the $500 per channel annual minimum fee for both commercial and noncommercial webcasters. The great irony, of course, is that it has taken until the final year of the current five-year royalty term to confirm these annual minimum payments. 

The official reinstatement of the fee is likely to have no more than a minimal effect on many, if not most, broadcasters. The final rule, published by the Copyright Royalty Board on February 8 (but technically not effective until March 10), applies only to those commercial or noncommercial webcasters who elected to continue webcasting under the terms and conditions of the March, 2007, Copyright Royalty Board decision.

Many broadcasters have signed on to one of the webcasting settlement agreements available to commercial or noncommercial webcasters – and, in so doing, they agreed to the same annual minimum fee of $500 per channel. We expect that those who didn’t sign on to one of the settlement agreements probably assumed the $500 per channel annual minimum would be reinstated and went ahead and paid it by January 31 (or at least have already factored it into their webcasting budgets).

If you (a) are webcasting, (b) did not sign on to one of the settlement agreements, (c) did not already make a minimum payment to SoundExchange for 2010, and (d) would like more information about how to make that payment, feel free to get in touch with us.