NPR Will Petition Copyright Royalty Board Tomorrow
March 15, 2007 at 10:34 AM (PT)
As ALL ACCESS reported on MONDAY (NET NEWS 3/12), NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO is planning legal action aimed at overturning a ruling from U.S. Copyright Royalty Judges that raised royalty fees for webcasters. Now we know that legal action will come tomorrow, as NPR VP/Communications ANDI SPORKIN said in a statement, "NPR will begin on FRIDAY, MARCH 16 by filing a petition for reconsideration with the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD panel."
SPORKIN called the CRB's ruling "a stunning, damaging decision for public radio and its commitment to music discovery and education, which has been part of our tradition for more than half a century. Public radio’s agreements on royalties with all such organizations, including the RIAA, have always taken into account our public service mission and non-profit status. These new rates, at least 20 times more than what stations have paid in the past, treat us as if we were commercial radio -- although by its nature, public radio cannot increase revenue from more listeners or more content, the factors that set this new rate. Also, we are being required to pay an Internet royalty fee that is vastly more expensive than what we pay for over-the-air use of music, although for a fraction of the over-the-air audience.
"This decision penalizes public radio stations for fulfilling their mandate, it penalizes emerging and non-mainstream musical artists who have always relied on public radio for visibility, and ultimately it penalizes the American public, whose local station memberships and taxes will be necessary to cover the millions of dollars that will now be required as payment. We ask that the online royalties be returned to their historic arrangement and that public radio can continue to provide its vital service to music discovery."