Internet Radio Royalty Hike Battle Addressed By Congress
The Online Radio royalty debate is not dead due to a new bill introduced in the US Congress by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL) dubbed “The Internet Radio Equality Act.” The bill was crafted to put a hold on the recent rate increases imposed by the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB).
The lobbying efforts of the Digital Media Association (DiMA), which promotes the agenda of Yahoo, AOL, and RealNetworks, has obviously paid off with this nice counter-offensive, but the development raised the ire of SoundExchange, a trade group that reps major labels and artists. SoundExchange, along with the RIAA, is attempting to thwart the DMA’s narrative of the small internet broadcaster getting bullying by the CRB, a message that has gotten a lot of mileage. The CRB’s original rate hike, which replaces revenue-based royalty percentages with per-song rate increases, would effectively put small online radio stations out of business, rallied SaveNetRadio.org to protest the hike and create awareness of the CRB’s plan.
Due to SaveNetRadio.org and a cooperative effort by Public Radio, small broadcasters and others throughout the United States, there was a huge backlash that the CRB was ill-prepared initially to handle. However, the CRB has refused to delay the implementation of the hike and the appeals process has been exhausted, giving them the upperhand.
The Future: Even though the DMA now has Congressional support, time is not on their side. Getting a bill turned into law in the US is a long and arduous process. Although Congress loves to champion the “little guys” – the reality is money talks.