Live365, our Internet broadcast provider, drafted a letter to be sent to Senators this past Monday, urging them to give webcasters parity in the royalty issue.
Last month, a letter was sent to House Judiciary Committee members in regards to the (H.R. 848), which will require radio broadcasters to pay sound recording performance royalties.
As a result, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), is likely to propose legislation that would lower the annual royalty obligations of small commercial webcasters.
The point of the second letter is to encourage Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), in the Senate, to do the same.
Here’s the letter sent to Senators!
The Honorable ____________
United States Senate
_____________ Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator __________:
We are constituents who are webcasters, streaming radio programming over the Internet.
Last month the House Judiciary Committee approved the Performance Rights Act (H.R. 848), which will require radio broadcasters to pay sound recording performance royalties. The bill protects small broadcasters that are concerned about the new fee’s impact by capping their royalties on a sliding revenue scale. We ask that you make certain that the Senate bill adopts the small broadcaster protection provisions, but that you extend them to Internet radio to protect small webcasters, including very small webcasters.
The House bill requires small broadcasters:
- with annual revenue of less than $100,000 to pay a royalty of $500;
- with revenue more than $100,000 but less than $500,000 pay $2,500; and
- with revenue more than $500,000 and up to $1.25 million pay $5,000.
In contrast to the reasonable royalties proposed in the House bill, small Internet radio services currently pay far higher royalties. Small webcasters:
- with annual revenue of $100,000 pay a royalty of $10,000;
- with revenue of $500,000 pay $60,000; and
- with revenue of $1.25 million pay $150,000.
Will Congress allow small broadcasters to pay reasonable royalties but require small Internet radio webcasters to pay royalties that are 20 and 30 times higher? Will Congress protect the smallest webcasters, like us, whose revenue is generally less than $10,000?
Small webcasters play more independent music, more local artists, and more unusual genres than broadcast radio, satellite radio and cable radio combined! Where else but Internet radio will you find dozens of stations offering traditional Irish music, classical music, classic jazz, world music (with channels dedicated to virtually every nation’s traditional and modern music), gospel and religious music?
As you consider this issue, please extend protections offered to small terrestrial broadcasters to also cover small Internet radio webcasters, including the smallest webcasters like ourselves. Small webcasters are the smallest of small, but our programming is the most innovative and our playlists are the most diverse. We need your help.