May 15 was supposed to be doomsday for Internet radio, but the clouds may be lifting. That was when webcasters across the country were to begin paying royalty rates under the new system set forth by the Copyright Royalty Board. The new rates have been pushed back to July 15, and the industry may get some help from Congress.
The bipartisan Internet Radio Equality Act, H.R. 2060, has been introduced in both houses of Congress. It would nullify the CRB’s decision to make Internet radio pay on a “per-performance” basis. It would also set rates at the same level as satellite radio, or 7.5 percent of a webcaster’s total revenue.
To put it into perspective: Tech site BetaNews estimates that AOL would owe $916,000 for 2006 under H.R. 2060, as opposed to $23.7 million under the CRB’s ruling.