U.K. tribunal signs off on royalty deal

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LONDON -- The U.K. Copyright Tribunal has endorsed the settlement agreement for online and mobile royalty rates reached between the MCPS-PRS Alliance and a string of online music companies.

According to the alliance, the decision confirms an agreement reached in September that songwriters, composers and their publishers should receive 8% of gross revenue from online music service providers for on-demand services.

As part of that settlement, the alliance's membership also would stand to receive 6.5% of revenue for interactive webcasting services and 5.75% for noninteractive webcasting.
"This is a great result for music creators," MCPS-PRS Alliance CEO Steve Porter said Monday. "We are happy that the tribunal has endorsed our approach to this licensing of music used in online services."

He added, "The uncertainty has finally been removed, and we have a template for the future that recognizes and affirms the value of the creative process to the online music business."
The BPI and a string of online music firms -- including AOL, MusicNet, Napster, RealNetworks, Sony Connect and Yahoo -- had locked horns with the alliance over digital royalty rates, arguing that there was a discrepancy among the fees charged by the alliance for physical, broadcast and online products. The costly legal dispute was referred to the three-member tribunal in June 2005June 29, 2005.

Lars Brandle is global news editor at Billboard.
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