Internet Radio Back Royalties Postponed

An attorney representing Internet radio interests reports that the due date for 2006 performance royalties has officially been moved back to July 15 from May 15, due to a technicality created by an alteration in the ruling of the US Copyright Royalty Board.

That alteration, which rolls back the rate of 2006 back royalty fees to become more commensurate with what satellite radio pays to the SoundExchange organization for performance royalties, apparently gives streaming music providers a 45-day window from yesterday to file a formal appeal, according to attorney David Oxenford. Online providers have already indicated their willingness to do so.

As promised, the CRB formally published its royalty fee structure for online streaming music providers yesterday. The new structure would raise per-performance royalties for regular music providers (as opposed to talk radio services that use music only in the background) to $0.0019 per song per listener by 2010. With the industry's projected rate of growth, BetaNews projects the new fees would convert performance royalty collections in the US to a $2 billion + per year industry, unless a bill introduced last week overturns the CRB's decision and sets royalty fees to a rate roughly equivalent to what satellite radio providers currently pay.

Even if the bill does pass, however, those back royalties for 2006 - the collection of which was on hold while the CRB debated the new royalties scheme - may still come due at mid-July.

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