There has been much discussion surrounding the fallout of the Copyright Royalty Board’s [CRB] recent decision to increase the royalty amount that US internet radio stations will have to pay. It is a graduated plan, set to double in five years, and includes all stations commercial and non-commercial, whether they are creating a new content stream or simulcasting a terrestrial signal.
NPR and the CPB have come out guns a-blazing, lawyers in tow, to get the decision overturned. Representatives from soundexchange.com [the company that does the lobbying for the CRB] have been quoted in a rather unfavorable light. This quote courtesy of internetnews.com’s article on the matter:
We’re all fans of Internet radio. We don’t want to see Internet radio go away. These are negotiations. We’re not trying to stick it to anybody. In terms of what happens next? Either side could appeal to the U.S. District court…
I gotta say that the handling of the price “negotiations” via the US Judicial System is sending a message of sorts to involved parties.
This all seems myopic on the part of the CRB. If this arrangement stays in place, it will have a cooling effect, if not a total deep freeze, on the internet radio world. Many webcasters have already come forward to say that they will not be able to sustain operations with the full weight of the increases on their backs.
If the webcasters in the US are reduced or driven out of business, I think we could full well expect international webcasters to fill in the gaps. We have been talking about internet radio being the future, but this decision looks to put a serious damper on the efforts here in the US.