Internet Radio Reprieve?

Internet radio streams have received a reprieve from the US Copyright Review Board (CRB) decision to restructure the royalty fees for the format. In March, the CRB established fees, effective retroactively to the beginning of 2006, that would be ramped up each year through 2010, with a cost of 0.08¢ per performance (per listener) in 2006, going up to 0.11¢ in 2007; 0.14¢ in 2008; 0.18¢ in 2009; and 0.19¢ in 2010.

In April, the CRB denied an appeal to its initial ruling, saying the new fee structure would be enacted on May 15. Papers filed in the Federal Register on May 1 reveal that the CRB voted 3-2 to roll back the May 15 deadline to July 15. This gives the opponents of the new fee structure 30 days to appeal the decision in federal court.

Meanwhile, Congressional Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Don Mazullio (R-IL) have introduced the Internet Radio Equality Act (HR 2060) to provide royalty parity for Internet radio by applying the same royalty rates to commercial Internet radio, satellite radio, cable radio, and jukeboxes.

SaveNetRadio continues to count down the days to July 15, urging concerned consumers to directly contact their representatives to support the Internet Equality Act. "We feel strongly that Congress could not possibly have intended a structure whereby Internet radio services pay 60% to 300% of their revenue in recording royalties, while satellite radio pays 5–7% and broadcasters pay zero, and we urge them to support HR 2060, The Internet Radio Equality Act. This legislation achieves that necessary balance by setting Internet radio rates equal to that of satellite radio, while also providing the same important and preferential rules for public and noncommercial Internet radio."