Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Online radio stations and the courts...

Sometimes it seems our legal system doesn't understand how technology works when it comes to trying to make something new fit something established. This can be evidenced by the recent court case involving internet broadcasters and copyright judges.

A broad group of public and private broadcasters, including radio stations, small startup companies, National Public Radio and major online sites like Yahoo Inc. and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, had objected to the new royalties set March 2, saying they would force a drastic cutback in services that are now enjoyed by some 50 million people. (Time Warner is also the parent company of CNN.)

In the latest ruling, the Copyright Royalty Board judges denied all motions for rehearing and also declined to postpone a May 15 deadline by which the new royalties will have to be collected.

However, they did grant leniency on one point, allowing the webcasters to calculate fees by average listening hours, as they had been, as opposed to the new system of charging a royalty each time every song is heard by an online listener. That exemption counts for last year and this year. After that, the new per-song, per-listener fee structure goes into effect.

The online radio stations haven't given up, they are hoping that Congress will step in as has been done in the past to help create a situation where royalties are still paid but not drive the online radio stations out of business...

1 comment:

Dave said...
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