Internet Royalty Rates: Let The Lawsuits Begin
March 12, 2007 at 12:00 PM (PT)
INTERNETNEWS.COM is reporting that lawyers for NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (NPR) and the CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING (CPB) are in WASHINGTON this week, planning legal action aimed at overturning a ruling from U.S. Copyright Royalty Judges that raised royalty fees for webcasters high enough for some to predict the demise of Internet radio.
"Right now the thought is that the initial response needs to be a legal response," NPR station WXPN GM ROGER LAMAY told INTERNETNEWS.COM. WXPN (88.5FM) is a non-commercial member-supported radio service of the UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. The ruling NPR and CPB plan to fight in court was passed last week by a panel of judges charged by the U.S. COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD with establishing the rate for a webcaster performance license.
"If this [ruling] were to go into effect, it's going to have public radio stations looking for ways to cut back what we do, as opposed to expanding," LAMAY said. "Now, there is significant dis-incentive when you're talking about services that are committed to public service."
Commercial Internet radio broadcasters were equally upset. "Left unchanged, these rates would be disastrous," a spokesperson for commercial webcaster PANDORA said. "It will not only end Internet radio, but will also stifle innovation as entrepreneurs and investors will abandon this space -- leaving a vacuum that will be quickly filled by illegal unlicensed services with no intention of creating legitimate businesses."
PANDORA founder TIM WESTERGREN told INTERNETNEWS.COM his company plans to follow NPR and CPB into court.