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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Webcast Royalty Bill, Negotiations Hit Impasse


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According to Chewontech.com, negotiations for the webcast royalty bill has hit a stop.

A federal bill that would reset music royalties at a more affordable rate for thousands of internet radio stations is losing steam in the House of Representatives, raising new fears for the future of webcasting."

Read more at http://www.chewontech.com/2007/08/webcast-royalty-bill-negotiations-hit.html

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

U.S. court denies Webcasters' stay petition


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A federal appeals court has denied a petition by U.S. Internet radio stations seeking to delay a royalty rate hike due July 15 they say could kill the fledgling industry.

While the July 11 ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a setback, the SaveNetRadio coalition of Webcasters vowed it would continue fighting the hikes in Congress.

Late last month, thousands of U.S. Internet radio stations, organized by SaveNetRadio, held a "Day of Silence" to protest the hikes in performance royalties paid to musicians and record companies.

Under a Copyright Royalty Board ruling in March, Webcasters will pay a performance royalty of $0.0008 for each listener of each song in 2006, rising to $0.0019 in 2010. The first payment, backdated to Jan. 1, 2006, is due on July 15.

The new ruling means the six biggest Internet radio stations -- Pandora, Yahoo (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research), Live365, RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK.O: Quote, Profile, Research), Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) AOL and Viacom Inc's (VIA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) MTV Online -- will pay 47 percent of their anticipated 2006 combined revenue of $37.5 million in performance royalties, said SaveNetRadio.

"We are disappointed that the Court failed to acknowledge the irreparable and quite frankly, devastating effect these new royalties will have on the Internet radio industry," said Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio coalition of Webcasters, net radio listeners and artists.

SoundExchange -- a non-profit group representing more than 20,000 artists, 2,500 independent record labels and four major record companies -- collects the royalties from Internet and satellite radio, as well as digital cable.

Ward said the ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington puts the ball squarely in the hands of Congress, which has already received more than half million messages urging members to pass legislation to cut the royalty rate to 7.5 percent of a company's annual revenue, bringing Internet radio in line with the rate by satellite radio.

From http://www.chewontech.com/2007/07/us-court-denies-webcasters-stay.html

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Internet radio go silence on June 28 in a silent protest


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Thousands of U.S. webcasters plan to turn off the music and go silent this Tuesday, June 26, to draw attention to an impending royalty rate increase that, if implemented, would lead to the virtual shutdown of this country’s Internet radio industry.

In March, the Copyright Royalty Board announced that it would raise royalties for Internet broadcasters, moving them from a per-song rate to a per-listener rate. The increase would be made retroactive to the beginning of 2006 and would double over the next five years. After the announcement, a group of broadcasters spearheaded by National Public Radio petitioned the CRB for a rehearing, but a panel of judges denied the request less than a month later. Internet radio sites would be charged per performance of a song. A “performance” is defined as the streaming of one song to one listener; thus a station that has an average audience of 500 listeners racks up 500 “performances” for each song it plays.

Many webcasters are planning to shut off access to their streams entirely, while other webcasters plan to replace their music streams with long periods of silence (or static or ocean sounds or similar) interspersed with occasional brief public service announcements on the subject. Internet-only webcasters and broadcasters that simulcast online will alert their listeners that “silence” is what Internet radio may be reduced to after July 15th, the day on which 17 months’ worth of retroactive royalty payments — at new, exceedingly high rates — are due to the SoundExchange collection organization, following a recent Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision.

Jake Ward, a spokesman for Save Net Radio, said:

“The arbitrary and drastic rate increases set by the Copyright Royalty Board on March 2nd threaten the very livelihood of thousands of webcasters and their millions of listeners throughout the country. “The campaign to save Internet radio - a genuine grassroots movement comprised of hundreds of thousands of webcasters, artists and independent labels, and Net radio listeners - has quickly brought this issue to the national forefront and the halls of Congress, but there is still more to be done before the approaching deadline of July 15th. On Tuesday, thousands of webcasters will call on their millions of listeners to join the fight to save Internet radio and contact their Congressional representatives to ask for their support of the Internet Radio Equality Act.”


Friday, March 23, 2007

Save Internet Radio Now !!!

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has announced its decision on Internet radio royalty rates

$.0008 per performance
$.0011 per performance
$.0014 per performance
$.0018 per performance
$.0019 per performance

Is this the end of Internet radio?

Although this is undeniably a huge victory for the legal departments of record labels (or at least for the lawyers at their industry trade association, the RIAA), I doubt that the heads of the record labels and their marketing executives actually want to see Internet radio driven out of business. (This may be a case of "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.")

Read more at http://saferpc.blogspot.com/2007/03/internet-radio-may-go-out-of-business.html

Sign the petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/SIR2007r/petition.html