The future of Internet radio is still far from certain, but for now, the threatened format has been given a temporary reprieve from its slated demise. In March, Congress’ Copyright Royalty Board changed the fee structure for online broadcasters in a drastic way that would financially cripple most of them starting May 15, however,the CRB’s entry in the Federal Register on Tuesday pushed the first date for payments under the new structure back to July 15.
Broadcasters are using the extra time to rally for a reversal of the board’s original ruling. Major Internet radio sites like SHOUTcast and Live365 have put announcements on their main pages alerting listeners to the decision and enlisting their support. SaveNetRadio.org is leading the charge in Washington D.C. by meeting with Congress to educate them about Internet radio.
The last hope lies in The Internet Radio Equality Act , H.R. 2060. The bill was introduced by Reps. Jay Inslee and Don Manzullo in late April. It would lock royalties for Internet radio stations in at 7.5 percent of revenue, the same rate that satellite radio broadcasters pay.
If the CRB’s decision is not reversed, stations will have to pay retroactive fees calculated under the new fee structure for broadcasts dating all the way back to January 1, 2006.