Copyright Royalty Board upholds new rates

Copyright Royalty BoardWe’ve followed the news of the CRB’s recent copyright royalty decision very closely here on Bluegrass Today. You can read those posts in the related posts link section at the bottom of the post.

The new fee structure was opposed by most all webcasters and a petition was put before the board to reconsider the new rates. The CRB agreed to here the petition and many felt sure they would re-negotiate the rates. They didn’t. reports.

[The Copyright Royalty Board] refused webcasters’ pleas for a rehearing today.  Instead, the board decided — again — that the rates, which were proposed by the RIAA-affiliated SoundExchange, are fair.  The judges also evidently felt they wouldn’t hear anything new during a rehearing.

The court also denied a request to stay the new rates until legal appeals could be pursued through other channels.

There is a lot of spin happening from both sides on this issue. Soundexchange is crowing about a victory in their press release.

[The CRB] upheld its earlier decision on fair royalty rates to be paid to musical artists and record labels for the use of their work on Internet radio.

The DiMA is portraying the news in a different way in their press release.

Without Congressional intervention, the decision – which is retroactive to January 2006 – will go into effect May 15, with royalty rate increases of 300 to 1200 percent for webcasters. It is expected that many of these webcasters will declare bankruptcy at that time.

My personal views are closer to those of the DiMA. An increase of this magnitude in operating expenses will force many of the webcasters out of business. Some people seem to be alright with that outcome. To be fair, Soundexchange has stated they plan to help

ensure a vibrant and thriving marketplace for Internet Radio and we intend to work with webcasters towards achieving that goal.

I’ll be interested to see just exactly how they accomplish this goal. Stay tuned, or maybe not…