RIAA 1, NPR 0: Copyright Royalty Board Denies Motion For Rehearing

Internet broadcasters suffered a blow Monday when the Copyright Royalty Board judges denied a motion for rehearing sponsored by NPR and other broadcasters. The motion denies a rehearing on the grounds that the parties did not offer sufficient new evidence. They also denied a motion to stay the enforcement of the new royalty rate until the appeal process is complete, claiming that if the rate is eventually overturned it can be refunded.

Tim Westergren, founder of the not-yet-profitable but very awesome internet radio station Pandora, has asked interested consumers to sign their petition and write to their representatives in Congress about this issue.

In an article in PC World John Simson Executive Director of SoundExchange defended the new rates, saying:

We’re interested in discussing business solutions with them, but right now they only seem interested in making noise,” he says. Asked what he means by “business solutions,” he replies: “I’m talking about sitting down with them and saying ‘Okay, let’s see if we can reach a business deal that will work for both sides.”

Speaking to the Washington Post earlier in the year, Simson was surprisingly candid about the SoundExchange’s goal of drastically reducing the amount of viable internet radio stations:

“Is 10,000 stations the right number?” asks Simson of SoundExchange, which sought the higher royalties. “Does having so many Web stations disperse the market so much that it hurts the artist? What’s the right number of stations? Is it 5,000? Is it less? Are artists better off having hundreds of listeners on lots of little stations, or thousands of listeners on larger stations?”

Jim is a master of subtlety. —MEGHANN MARCO

Order Denying Motions for Rehearing in Docket No. 2005-1 CRB DTRA (PDF)[Copyright Royalty Board]

Webcasters and Rising Royalty Fees: Paying the Price for Innovation? [Washington Post]
Net Radio: ‘New Song Royalties Will Kill Us’ [PC World]


Edit Your Comment

  1. joyflop says:

    crap! I don’t know what I would do without NPR online. All Songs Considered is the best.

    Love the pic though.

  2. Falconfire says:

    Not surprising, all that happens now is it is going to go to a federal appeals court, which will likely allow a stay.

    I mean seriously could anyone here not see that there was no way in hell that the Copyright Royalties Board was going to let a appeal go through when they stand to potentially make millions of dollars out of their stubbornness.

    Granted all they are doing is destroying internet radio, but in their MINDS they see revenue that wont in reality exist.

  3. acambras says:

    LOVE the photo. It’s what I think you’d see across the desk if a cat was doing your tax audit.

  4. IC18 says:

    For some freaky reason that pic reminds me of my old history teacher. I thinks its the glasses.

  5. snazz says:

    why do i feel like that cat is about to shush me from behind the periodicals counter?

  6. mac-phisto says:

    now i noticed that these royalty payments only apply to subscriber-based internet radio. what if the smaller stations just stripped out the subscription service & live-fed the content? i think that lets them out of the agreement.

  7. misskaz says:

    In addition to signing one of the many (not-liekly-to-be-useful) petitions out there, I encourage folks to go to Savenetradio.org and send letters/emails/faxes to their Congressional representatives. The website makes it super easy.

  8. TechnoDestructo says:

    Just more proof that the big labels want to support as few artists as possible.

    Hopefully now that most of us have had a taste of non-homogenized music, they can’t get away with it.

  9. Spiny Norman says:

    Let me translate for the wonderful readers of the Consumerist: ‘We want to completely blow away internet radio and consolidate every conventional channel under the sun so everything sounds like Clear Channel crap and we only have to make 20 cd’s a year and sell a billion of each one. It’s cheaper that way.’ How many hamburger joints is the right number? Ask McDonalds if they really enjoy having Wendy’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and Jack in the Box on the same street. You’ll get the Sound Exchange answer. ‘There should be only one.’ The inmates are running the asylum here.

  10. royal72 says:

    have you run out of pics or is this site now called “catsumerist”? i love cats too, but good god, enough cats already.

  11. BillyShears says:

    Dear John Simson,

    Are artists better off having hundreds of listeners on lots of little stations, or thousands of listeners on larger stations?”

    Which is heavier? A ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    @royal72: My only regret is that Consumerist doesn’t hold an annual pledge drive. So I could call them and tell them they’d ONLY get my support if they posted even MORE cat pictures.

    Cats rule!

  13. How brilliant of the FCC/RIAA/ETC. If this passes (the world *may* just be that insane by now), it will do one thing: Drive LEGAL online radio OUT OF THE UNITED STATES. Any money or usefulness that it does generate will then only benefit other countries, because ours is stupid enough to take orders straight from the people with a financial interest in strangling the market. …And hackers will have gained yet another big slice of moral high-ground, making it even harder to actually prevent the kinds of things the RIAA claims to want to prevent.

    The artists and the listeners don’t deserve it, to be sure, but the government and the industry sure do.