The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 was passed in September by the House and Senate. The act became law when it was signed by the President in November 2008. The bill provides time for agreements and negotiations to be made concerning the royalty rates for webcasters. The act amends section 114(f)(5) of title 17 of the United States Code. It allows for settlements to be entered into an 11 year period starting on January 1, 2005. This would nullify the Copyright Royalty Board decision of 2007. The bill also modifies the settlement deadline between webcasters and the receiving agent of the royalties. The new deadline is February 15, 2009. Although this act has no immediate impact on the royalty ruling, it is a step closer to reaching a final decision. The act also allows settlements to go into effect more easily. If any group reaches a settlement with SoundExchange before the February deadline, they can submit it to the Copyright Royalty Board and it will become effective.
The Webcaster Settlement Act is an important part of the research for my paper. It shows the progress being made regarding the royalty decision. The fact that this bill was signed by the President is evidence that the royalty ruling is a significant issue for the public. It demonstrates that there is some debate and doubt regarding the fairness of the royalties to the webcasters. This supports my argument that the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision is questionable and that there is a possibility for better models for determining royalty rates.