The fee, which is separate from royalties, had been a sticking point for large Internet radio operators such as Oakland-based Pandora. A panel of three copyright judges set new royalty rates for the industry in early May and designated that the first payments under the new structure would be due on Sunday. Many Webcasters have said the new royalty rates are too onerous and would put them out of business. Some small Webcasters have already shut down. Last week, online broadcasters failed to convince a federal appeals panel to put off the date for the scheduled increase. As a result, the Webcasters are required to make royalty payments retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006. Still, it’s unlikely Internet radio fans will see a wave of Webcasters closing down this weekend, industry representatives and some broadcasters said. LOS ANGELES – Negotiations between Internet radio broadcasters and the recording industry intensified Friday, as a government-mandated deadline neared for higher royalties to be paid to music companies and artists. National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting had a “productive meeting” early in the day with SoundExchange, the music industry group that collects and distributes royalty payments to music companies and recording artists, NPR said. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting also made a payment for an undisclosed amount to SoundExchange and said it was confident public radio stations could continue Webcasting for the next three months as negotiations continue. Meanwhile, some of the biggest commercial Webcasters said they welcomed an offer from SoundExchange that would cap the fees they pay for operating multiple channels at $50,000 a year, if the operators agree to provide more details of the music played and step up efforts to stop listeners from copying songs. Informal discussions organized Thursday by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., resulted in no concrete agreements but left Westergren and other commercial Webcasters with the understanding that the Sunday deadline was not going to be enforced – providing good- faith negotiations continued. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!