More than a year after the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(DMCA) was signed into law, many of the details that would fully implement the act are still being negotiated. The act established a new statutory license for the public performance of a sound recording, but webcasters are not yet paying any statutory fees. The reason: Several key players can’t seem to agree on the royalty rate for the license. The ultimate outcome is significant, however, given that once the statutory rate has been determined, it will apply retroactively to all webcasting that took place since the new law became effective Oct. 28, 1998.

The goal of the DMCA was twofold:

  • To effectuate the necessary changes in U.S. copyright law, so the United States could implement two new World Intellectual Property Organization treaties; and
  • To clarify certain issues surrounding a previously passed piece of legislation, the Digital Performance Rights in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 (DPRSRA).

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