David Israelite confirms royalties breakthrough

Settlement near for two of five rates set by CRB

NEW YORK -- The publishers, record labels and digital music providers have hammered out a settlement on two of the five royalty rates scheduled to be set in October by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, according to National Music Publishers' Assn. president and CEO David Israelite.

But the details will remain confidential until they are presented to the three U.S. judges sitting on the board, who must approve and set the rates, Israelite added at the trade association's annual meeting, held in New York at the Marriott Marquis on Wednesday.

So far, the three sectors have reached an agreement on the rates for limited downloads and Internet streaming, but they could not reach a settlement on the other three rates: digital permanent downloads, physical product and ringtones.

Consequently, each sector will file briefs and documentation supporting their respective stances by July 2, with closing arguments expected to be made by July 4. Then, the three U.S. judges on the board are expected to announce the new rates for the next five years in October, according to a slide that accompanied Israelite's presentation.

In other news, he said the trade association was diligent in monitoring, helping to author and present music publishers viewpoints on legislation that could impact intellectual property. Among the bills, he discussed were: H.R. 5889, which impacts how "orphan works" are treated; the Performance Rights Act H.R. 4789, which says that song performers should receive compensation from terrestrial broadcasts; and H.R. 4279, which aims to improve enforcement of intellectual property rights both at home and abroad.

On the litigation front, he said last year the association has joined the class action lawsuit against YouTube and that it had filed a federal lawsuit against XM Satellite and that it had negotiated the Bertelsmann/Napster settlement. Finally, Israelite said the association has been aggressive in tackling the tablature and lyric sites, pointing out that 62 such sites have been shut down, while others have taken down copyrighted content, and one is even seeking a license so that it can continue to operate.

Earlier, MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman delivered the keynote address, noting that his organization would work with Washington and governments around the world to safeguard intellectual property rights because it is important to the economy as well as important to the creators.

Glickman added that piracy and counterfeiting cost the motion picture industry $18 billion a year.

He pointed out that music, movies and other arts are important because they make a difference in people's lives. He relayed a comment by a U.S. founding father, John Adams, who said that he studied politics and war so his children might be able to study science and math so that their children can study poetry and music. Specific hedge funds won't be remembered 600 years from now, but what this generation produced artistically is how it will be remembered by the future.

The event closed with a performance by Amy Lee of Evanescence, who was named the organizations 2008 Songwriter Icon Award honoree. The NMPA also presented its Gold and Platinum Composition Awards to songwriters Toby Gad for Big Girls Don't Cry"; Taylor Swift for "Our Song" and "Teardrops on My Guitar"; Mikkel Eriksen and Tor Hermansen for "Unfaithful", "Tattoo", "With You" and "Wait for You"; Amanda Ghost for "Tattoo"; Philip Lamont Jackson for "Wait for You"; and Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers for "Pon de Replay."