We covered this issue in some detail in the past, with a good deal of discussion taking place in the comments (here and here). The issue seems to have slipped off the radar lately, but the debate continues in the background.
Just recently, the US Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia set dates for briefings related to appeals filed by webcasting groups unhappy with the rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board for internet radio royalties. Briefs are due February 25 (2008) for the webcasters, April 25 for the CRB, and May 15 for SoundExchange. Reply briefs will be due on June 12. The court has yet to schedule oral arguments in the case.
With a summer break for the court and the length of process involved in a case like this, it is likely we won’t a see a decision until late 2008 at the earliest.
There has been at least one settlement announced, concerning the case, at this time. The settlement limits the minimum fee for multiple channels (streams) to $50,000 per company. This is welcome relief for businesses such as Pandora that allow each individual listener to create their own channel, resulting in millions of channels for which they would have been charged under the initial CRB decision.
It is possible that other settlements could be reached outside of court, rendering theses appeals unnecessary. Barring that, it looks to be a year or more before this issue is settled. In the meantime, be sure to visit your favorite bluegrass internet radio station and enjoy the music.