Internet radio threatened

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Higher royalties threaten to put webcasters out of business

The Copyright Royalty Board denied motions last Monday for a rehearing on its March 2 decision to drastically increase the royalty rates Internet radio stations pay to record labels and artists. The board also declined to postpone the May 15 deadline for collecting new royalties.

Online stations used to pay fees based on a percentage of their revenue. Now stations will be charged per song, per listener or a minimum of $500 per channel, per month.

“The atmosphere is grim for Internet radio,” said Val Starr, who operates, based in Antelope.

A coalition of webcasters will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., but that could take several months to play out—more time than many webcasters can afford. The coalition is asking supporters to sign an online petition. At this point, Starr said, webcasters need Congress to intervene.

“We are making some good headway with petitions,” Starr said. “It’s not over yet.”

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