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Last weekend college Internet broadcasters in the United States signed-off on an important royalty agreement with the RIAA that should keep non-commercial webcasters a'streaming.

The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), with 800 student-staffed member stations, is one of the parties to be involved. The deal is a result of a mandate from the Library of Congress, which sets the royalty rates. The stations can now avoid the game of Russian Roulette called CARP arbitration.

The agreement frees the stations from onerous reporting duties and applies retroactively to October 1998. You can read the details here.

For an annual fee (this year it's $250 plus a $25 "research" tax to the RIAA's collection department, SoundExchange) the station is permitted 146,000 "aggregate tuning hours" per month. So, for example, a station streaming non-stop with average of 50 listeners per hour would clock up 1,200 aggregate tuning hours a day.

Above this cap, the station must pay 0.251 cents per aggregate tuning hour or 0.2176 cents per performance. It's more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it. ®

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