Feeds

New law could save internet radio

Congress looks to overturn crushing royalty ruling

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A law has been proposed in the US Congress that would overturn a recent ruling on internet radio royalty payments. The bill could save internet radio, according to activists.

Earlier this month the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which reports to the Library of Congress, increased the charges which internet radio stations will have to pay in order to broadcast music. Stations claim that the charges in many cases represent more than their total revenues, and that they make it impossible to build a business out of online radio.

The CRB is answerable to Congress, and two members of the House of Representatives have proposed a law which would withdraw the CRB's recent ruling and propose a compromise system of payments.

Internet radio activists say that the system is unfair because it penalises online radio stations unduly. Broadcast radio pays no royalty fees, they say, while satellite radio pays far less than internet radio's new charges.

The new law will charge the same fee to radio stations whether they are provided via satellite, cable, or the internet. It will offer stations the chance to choose to pay 7.5 per cent of their revenues or 33 cents per hour per listener.

The bill was introduced by Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Don Manzullo.

"Since the CRB's decision to dramatically and unfairly increase webcaster royalty rates, millions of internet radio listeners, webcasters and artists have called on Congress to take action," said Jake Ward of lobby group SaveNetRadio. "Today Congress took notice, and we thank Mr Inslee for leading the charge to save music diversity on the internet."

Speaking this month to OUT-LAW Radio's Joe Kennedy, chief executive of Pandora, one of the internet's largest radio-style services, said the threat to online radio was severe.

"The judges adopted the proposal to triple the rates for large webcasters, and for small webcasters it's actually closer to a 12 times increase in the rates that they pay," said Kennedy. "It's an extraordinary increase in the rates that will effectively kill internet radio as we know it today.

"Over 90 per cent of internet radio will simply be gone. The net result will be a huge loss of diversity, a huge loss for music artists and a loss of virtually all of the internet radio that exists."

"You can't put an economic chokehold on this emerging force of democracy," Inslee said, according to CNet News. "There has to be a business model that allows creative webcasters to thrive and the existing rule removes all the oxygen from this space."

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Related link

Internet radio chief lashes out at judges

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.