Overnight Tech: Pandora, music industry await decision on royalty rates

LEDE: The Copyright Royalty Board will set new licensing rates for webcasters like Pandora on Wednesday, advancing a fraught proceeding that's being closely watched for its impact on the music streaming service.

The three-judge panel will announce what rate the services should pay from 2016 through 2020. Pandora currently pays 14 cents per 100 songs streamed.

SoundExchange, the group representing the music industry in the proceeding, has asked them to raise the rate to 25 cents per 100 songs played. Pandora is hoping for 11 cents. Regardless of the outcome, either side can appeal the decision. The current rate for Pandora was set as part of a 2009 settlement for small webcasters who complained that an earlier rate was not sustainable.

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The stakes are seen as being especially high for the streaming service. It struggles to turn a profit, and being tasked with paying more in licensing fees wouldn’t make it any easier to overcome that challenge. The ruling also comes as the company faces new competition from on-demand streaming services like Spotify, who negotiate their licensing fees directly with record labels. 

WHAT WE WON’T GET TOMORROW: The Board, part of the Library of Congress, will release its new rates on Wednesday. But we’ll have to wait to see the decision outlining the judges’ reasoning — which needs to be reviewed by the parties involved first.

EU NEARING NEW PRIVACY RULES: The Wall Street Journal reports that officials in the E.U. have agreed on the text of a bill that would create universal data privacy rules for all 28 member states. It reportedly sets stricter standards for certain types of companies operating inside the E.U. and raises the ceiling for fines leveled against companies that violate the rules. The European Parliament and the governments of the member countries still need to sign off on the law.

DEMS UNVEIL DO NOT TRACK BILL: Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers Twitter CEO meets with lawmakers to talk net neutrality, privacy Senate votes to save net neutrality rules MORE (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released legislation on Tuesday requiring web services to respect Do Not Track requests from users. The requests are possible in every major web browser — but few websites honor them. The FTC would have the power to level enforcement actions against websites that didn’t comply with some exceptions. 

HOW 2016 CANDIDATES' EMAIL LISTS MEASURE UP: Every major 2016 presidential campaign, with the exception of three, comply when users opt to unsubscribe to campaign emails, according to a study from the Online Trust Alliance. The exceptions were Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas MORE, Carly Fiorina and George Pataki. Ten candidates, including a few who dropped out, made the organization's "Unsub Honor Roll" list. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersClinton backs Georgia governor hopeful on eve of primary The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ Bernie Sanders announces Senate reelection bid MORE was the only candidate to receive a perfect score. The full report is here. 

WHO IS SUING THE FCC?: The Federal Communications Commission is being sued by at least 40 different groups in U.S. appellate courts, according to a list of cases the agency released Tuesday. They range from high-profile cases like the ones against net neutrality and the preemption of state broadband laws to ones disputing radio licensing decisions. 

ON TAP: 

At 9:30 a.m., the Center for Data Innovation is holding an event on a national strategy for the Internet of Things. 

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

Lawmakers are battling over how long to renew a ban on state and local taxes of Internet access.

Critics of the Federal Aviation Administration are assailing what they call a new "drone tax," a requirement that drone users pay a fee and register their devices with the federal government.

Samsung is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling that it violated some of Apple’s patents for the blockbuster iPhone.

A majority of Americans do not believe those who play violent video games are more likely to become violent in their everyday lives, according to a Pew Research Center poll

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night that is intended to protect consumers who want to post negative online reviews on Yelp and other websites.

 

Please send tips and comments to David McCabe, dmccabe@thehill.com and Mario Trujillo, mtrujillo@thehill.com Follow us on Twitter: @HilliconValley, @dmccabe, @_mariotrujillo