Webcasters get a breather as CRB rates kick in


Wired News reports a coalition of webcasters worked out a deal 7/12 with the recording industry that could temporarily stave off a portion of crippling net radio royalties that took effect Sunday. The deal is not final but creates a window for webcasters to continue broadcasting until a compromise is reached. For now, the parties involved have agreed to waive at least temporarily the minimum charge of 6,000 dollars per channel required under the new Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) ruling.

The deal was brokered late Thursday at the behest of The House Commerce Committee, via Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) also introduced H.R. 3015, which would postpone the deadline for at least 60 days while webcasters/broadcasters and SoundExchange continue negotiations. The deal affects only webcasters participating in CRB hearings convened in Congress this week aimed at winning a reprieve for the industry.

Webcasters had appealed for an emergency stay of the rates to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but a panel of judges declined in a ruling made public Thursday morning.

Still pending is the Internet Radio Equality Act, which proposes webcasters switch to a percentage-based royalty system similar to the 7.5% of revenue fee structure enjoyed by satellite and cable radio broadcasters.