March 15, 2007 by Bryan Peace
Sounds like NPR may be the first to take action against the recent massive increases in the royalties Internet radio stations are obligated to pay to performers of the music they play. The following statement is from National Public Radio’s communication VP Andi Sporkin, find and the key sentences outlining action, a petition for reconsideration, are at the end:
“This is a stunning, damaging decision for public radio and its commitment to music discovery and education, which has been part of our tradition for more than half a century. Public radio’s agreements on royalties with all such organizations, including the RIAA, have always taken into account our public service mission and non-profit status. These new rates, at least 20 times more than what stations have paid in the past, treat us as if we were commercial radio – although by its nature, public radio cannot increase revenue from more listeners or more content, the factors that set this new rate. Also, we are being required to pay an internet royalty fee that is vastly more expensive than what we pay for over-the-air use of music, although for a fraction of the over-the-air audience.
“This decision penalizes public radio stations for fulfilling their mandate, it penalizes emerging and non-mainstream musical artists who have always relied on public radio for visibility and ultimately it penalizes the American public, whose local station memberships and taxes will be necessary to cover the millions of dollars that will now be required as payment. On behalf of the public radio system, NPR will pursue all possible action to reverse this decision, which threatens to severely reduce local stations’ public service and limit the reach of the entire music community. NPR will begin on Friday, March 16 by filing a petition for reconsideration with the CRB panel, the first step in this process. We ask that the online royalties be returned to their historic arrangement and that public radio can continue to provide its vital service to music discovery.”
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