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PRS shakes up online music fees

New rates for hobbyists, small 'casters

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The UK performing rights society, the PRS, has published a new schedule of royalty rates that cover everyone from internet radio hobbyists, to blogs, to major music services. The headline rate is unchanged at 8 per cent of gross revenue max, while the minima can be negotiated.

The fees will replace the JOL (Joint Online License) finally settled, after much expensive legal wrangling at the Copyright Tribunal, in 2007. The old JOL expires on 30 June.

Small operators and enthusiasts, whose revenues are less than £6,250 a year, can qualify for the Limited Online Exploitation License" (and isn't it a good job the 'E' is there). Fees here start at £107 per year for sites that transmit less than 180,000 streams a year, or distribute less than 68,000 music podcasts, or 2,500 MP3s for download, for example, rising to £536.

For the big boys, operators are classed as - now take a deep breath - either download services, music on demand services, interactive webcasts, non-interactive webcasts, or single-artist webcasts. These are then further divided into subscription or non-subscription, making nine in all. Not all the schedules have yet been published, the ones that have are here. The Online Music License doesn't cover TV or radio simulcasts or ringtones.

PRS for Music, as it's now called, said digital revenue had almost doubled in the past year to £17.6m.

The PRS, a member society owned by publishers and composers, takes about 12 per cent commission. ®

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