Internet Radio Webcasters Plot Next Steps In Royalties Battle
Internet radio webcasters are formulating reactive strategies to yesterday's Copyright Royalty Board decision to uphold what many streamers consider overly expensive royalties set to start being collected beginning May 15.
At a meeting held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, several Internet radio broadcasters announced a campaign to raise awareness of the issue and encourage listeners to write to their representatives in Congress.
As the Associated Press' Seth Sutel notes, small broadcasters have received relief from Congress in the past, benefiting from a law passed five years ago that gave them a break on royalty rates. The legislation allowed them to pay about 12 percent of their revenues instead of having to calculate per-song, per-hour rates like larger companies had to.
Sutel added that David Oxenford, a lawyer representing several webcasters, said the next step was likely an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but he noted that process could take at least a year. Meanwhile, he said, the prospects of successfully getting a court to block the decision of the royalty board judges.
In the interim, the Copyright Royalty Board did throw webcasters a bone yesterday. They granted a one-year extension to the current royalty regimen of calculating fees by average listening hours, rather than charging a royalty each time an online listener hears a copyrighted song. But unless the Board is overruled, the new system goes into effect in 2007.
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