Internet radio stations seem to have won a stay of execution at the eleventh hour in their battle over royalty fees.

The US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) had decided to increase rates for all web broadcasters in a move that threatened many smaller companies, especially as the charges were backdated.

But SoundExchange, which acts on behalf of the CRB, has continued negotiations and is said to be close to a deal that would cap the amounts paid per channel at $50,000.

SoundExchange has also agreed to continue the exemptions that have so far allowed small and non-commercial internet radio broadcasters to pay lower royalties.

Since the announcement of the new royalty rates, net radio services have been up in arms, with many saying that the new rates would put them out of business.

A day of radio silence was held last month to protest against the new rates.

Ars Technica reports that SoundExchange may insist on the use of DRM by webcasters as part of the deal.