A panel of three federal court judges has denied an appeal by webcasters in regards to the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to raise rates. The initial decision was made in March, 2006.
However, the appeals court out of the District of Columbia vacated the $500 dollar minimum fee required by small broadcasters; calling it, “…arbitrary, capricious, and not supported by record evidence, and remand that portion of the determination to the Copyright Royalty Judges for further proceedings not consistent with this opinion.”
What does this all mean? For starters, the current fees implemented by the CRB are going to be the same. Live365 adjusted their rates accordingly to make sure they can continue broadcasting. However, the increased costs are going to be passed on to Internet broadcasters like myself.
We’ve seen a 25% percent increase in fees to broadcast here on Live365. What helps “Smooth Jazz and More” are the VIP memberships purchased over the last few months. They help offset any increases made on Live365’s part.
Also, imposing a $500 per station fee was intended as a “KILLER” fee, designed to wipe out small webcasters. The more small broadcasters there are, the more music that is played.
“Too many artists, too many songs and too many reports to process.”
The real problem is that it makes it harder on the RIAA and the recording industry to dominate and to control what is produced and sold. Major artists and RIAA supported artists never had a problem getting airplay. That is the way the recording industry likes it. Tens of thousands of stations is messy and it makes it harder for the recording industry to control things.
SoundExcange is an arm of Recording Industry Association America and they support what the RIAA and major artists want. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is a entity of the US Copyright Office which “CATERS” to the recording industry and major artists. Unfortunately the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the laws favor this one-sided deal.
The Court of Appeals by eliminating this $500 provision provides SX only one way to reduce enforcement and compliance costs, and that is to find “CONSOLIDATORS” like Live365, Loudcity and SWCast to provide licensing and to handle reporting and compliance issues.
Hopefully, SoundExchange will find a mechanism like they did for Sirius XM and PUREPLAY that offers a reasonable percentage of revenues/expenses formula is in the best interest of the artists and industry and a path that allows this new revenue stream to expand which would be good for everyone.
In difficult economic times like today, it is the best solution for all.