Performance Royalties Axed from Music and Video Downloads

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Music Performance

A New York court ruled yesterday that digital music downloads in the form of videos or music files are not subject to performance royalties.

This ruling was part of a copyright law dispute involving The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) against AOL, Yahoo and RealNetworks.

The court ruling explained in 5 bite-size points:

  1. Songwriters and publishers normally get 9.1 cents for each song sold via digital download, such as from the iTunes Store.
  2. In addition to this ASCAP is arguing that songwriters and publishers should also receive an additional performance royalty. This would equate to about 3 percent of the cost of every digital download.
  3. Performance royalties are normally paid for public performances. This includes radio broadcasts, music and music videos played in a bar, music in nightclubs, TV broadcasts etc.
  4. The New York court ruled that this performance royalty was not applicable for digital online downloads.
  5. In other words a court believes that a digital download is like buying a DVD to own and is not a public performance.

All this makes perfect sense to me and I agree with the ruling.