College radio stations earn internet copyright relief


Negotiations involving College Broadcasters Inc., Sound Exchange and the United States Copyright Royalty Board have resulted in maintenance of a fixed annual copyright fee for college and education stations that stream on the internet, and also provided for a greatly desired option to reduce paperwork.

Stations that meet a listening threshold will pay $500 annually from 2011-2015 under the agreement.

“This is especially important for smaller educational stations that need a reasonable and consistent charge so that they can maintain their small operations,” said Bill Keith, of WSDP at Salem High School in Canton MI.
The agreement also allows small stations to pay a “proxy fee” instead of providing SoundExchange with extensive information that for many is simply too burdensome to product.

Acting CBI president Candy Walton of the University of South Dakota said, “The CRB’s adoption of the rates and terms negotiated by CBI provides student stations with a large degree of rate certainty and much needed options concerning the paperwork involved with webcasting.  This is a great victory for student stations and I am happy that we were able to accomplish this for not only our members, but all student stations.”

Sounding a note that should be taken seriously by all broadcasters regardless of size, Walton noted the importance of the web to the future of radio.

RBR-TVBR observation: Radio is a great place to go to hear new music and to gain information about what to purchase. The internet should also be a great place to go. How many musicians are going hungry because few internet entrepreneurs can clear the initial hurdles created by the music industry and the CRB?

The labels need to find out how they can get compensated in the internet age, just as newspapers do.

But wiping out their access to free promotion is not the way to do it. People won’t buy it if they’ve never heard it, so eliminating the entities trying to build an audience to expose the public to a certain type of audience just makes finding a way to get the audience to pay for the music that much more difficult.