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SoundExchange Launched

The Recording Industry Association of America launched an organization this week that is responsible for collecting performance royalties from webcasters. Enactment of the Digital Performance Rights Act of 1995 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, granted a U.S. performance right for sound recordings. SoundExchange (www.soundexchange.com) will administer the collection and distribution of U.S. performance revenue for non-interactive digital services -- webcasting and subscription music services.

There has been controversy over the relation of RIAA to such an organization with concern to the interest of non-members. However, no other group has stepped forward as an alternative to SoundExchange.

SoundExchange currently represents nearly 2100 record labels and 270 recording companies. The SoundExchange Governance Committee will be made up of representatives from both major and independent record labels, recording artists, artist representatives and industry groups, such as the Association for Independent Music (AFIM), the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the RIAA. The committee will be responsible for overseeing distribution methodology and dispute resolution, as well as other governance issues.

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