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Webcaster testifies about royalties on Capitol Hill

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 26 Oct 2007 0:25 User comments (6)

Webcaster testifies about royalties on Capitol Hill According to testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday, if the royalty rates approved by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in March aren't overturned, internet radio stations are finished. The testimony from Pandora founder Tim Westergren was part of a hearing called to assess the state of negotiations between webcasters and SoundExchange, the recording industry royalty colllection agency which originally proposed the new rates. Although webcasters have claimed negotiations between the two sides have stalled, SoundExchange representatives have indicated that there are merely delays while they assess the financial situations webcasters find themselves in.
"The [higher] rates are actually currently in effect, and we are paying them," said Michele Husak, director of communications for Pandora. "But we're only doing so because we believe that rationality will prevail and that they will be lowered. Negotiations are slowly on-going." Husak also indicated that at some point Pandora, one of the more successful webcasters, will no longer be able to afford the royalty payments and would be forced to shut down.

Meanwhile, Westergren pushed for the passage of the Internet Radio Equality Act, which many webcasters see as their best chance for a fair Resolution to the issue. Even assuming SoundExchange officials realize that the new royalties aren't realistically possible to collect, it may require legislation to convince the agency to back down without losing face.

Russell Withers, president of the Withers Broadcasting Group and a board member for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), told the committee Wednesday that proposed CRB rates "would put Pandora out of business because of the size and the impact" of the proposal. "In my opinion, CRB got about 15 times more than they thought they would get," Withers said at the hearing. He accused SoundExchange of refusing to engage in timely negotiations on the matter, calling their actions "unconscionable."

Source: PC Magazine

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6 user comments

126.10.2007 6:36

The RIAA (Sony, EMI, Universal & Warner) are complete a$$ holes. they want to stop all outlets of free music to force ppl to purchase the crap they produce. without having already heard how lame the music is on the radio they think the cd sales will increase!

here is a story from ars that is worth a read!

Radio stations want Congress to look into major label recording contracts

BREAKING! RIAA Bans Telling Friends About Songs

Originally posted by above hyperlink:
LOS ANGELES—The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that it will be taking legal action against anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances, or associates about new songs, artists, or albums. "We are merely exercising our right to defend our intellectual properties from unauthorized peer-to-peer notification of the existence of copyrighted material," a press release signed by RIAA anti-piracy director Brad Buckles read. "We will aggressively prosecute those individuals who attempt to pirate our property by generating 'buzz' about any proprietary music, movies, or software, or enjoy same in the company of anyone other than themselves." RIAA attorneys said they were also looking into the legality of word-of-mouth "favorites-sharing" sites, such as coffee shops, universities, and living rooms.
RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away Free Music

LOS ANGELES—The Recording Industry Association of America filed a $7.1 billion lawsuit against the nation's radio stations Monday, accusing them of freely distributing copyrighted music.

RIAA president Hilary Rosen and attorney Russell Frackman answer questions in a Los Angeles courthouse.

"It's criminal," RIAA president Hilary Rosen said. "Anyone at any time can simply turn on a radio and hear a copyrighted song. Making matters worse, these radio stations often play the best, catchiest song off the album over and over until people get sick of it. Where is the incentive for people to go out and buy the album?"

226.10.2007 12:08

Hah. The onion. I havn't seen one of those lying around in a while.

326.10.2007 13:04

Double Post

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 Oct 2007 @ 13:05

426.10.2007 13:04

You do relize that the onion makes this stuff up... but its not far from the truth... if you say i cant say anything about it. then i'll let my colt python and my automatic shotgun do the talking for you.

526.10.2007 14:20

The onion making stuff up? Say it aint

great place for tongue in cheek satire at times

Back on point though...

I think that webcasters SHOULD pay the same royalty structure as OTA radio stations that broadcast OTA and not some inflated rate because they're broadcasting over the net.

I also think that labels should pay royalties to the band the same for digital sales as they do for physical sales and not the reduced rate they do because it's a digital sale.

But then the RIAA et. al. do like to have their cake and eat it to.

631.10.2007 17:48

Pointless creation of more useless legislation.

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