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Webcasters get breathing room; CRB pushes D-day to july 15th

Posted on: 05/02/2007

In a twist that greatly improves the likelihood that Congress could pass legislation in time to save Internet radio from collapsing under the burden of impossibly-high royalty rates, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), in publishing its determination in the Federal Register yesterday (.pdf here), added one word to their crbdecision that moves the due date for payments under the new rates from May 15th to July 15th.

The original version of their decision (.pdf here) said that payments under the new rate — including a retroactive payment for the period going back to January 2006 — were due 45 days after the end of the month in which the determination was issued.  The determination was issued on March 2nd; thus the due date would have been May 15th. 

In the decision’s 32-page publication in the Federal Register, a new headline referred to the publication as their “final rule" and said that payments under it were due 45 days after the end of the month in which the final rule was issued.

News of July 15th extension
arrived during conclusion of “Hill walk”

Word of
the eight-week reprieve came down late afternoon yesterday, just as dozens of webcasters, independent label reps, and musicians were convening at a Mexican restaurant on Capital Hill to celebrate a successful but exhausting national archives and registry“Hill walk.” During the “Hill walk,” teams of two to five participants visited dozens of House and Senate offices to talk to staffers about the Internet radio royalties issue and ask for their support of the H.R. 2060, the “Internet Radio Equality Act” (or the upcoming Senate version thereof).

A high percentage of the House members gave verbal commitments yesterday to sign on as co-sponsors of H.R. 2060; names of those co-sponsors may be announced as early as later today.

This is excellent news
for Internet radio, as there seemed to be great support for the Internet Radio Equality  Act on Capital Hill, but many staffers warned us that it seemed impossible that committee hearings could be held, and  law could be passed by both houses of Congress, and the bill could be signed by the President, in time to meet a deadline that was only 14 days away.

It does, however, call into question whether May 8th is still the appropriate day, from a PR point of view, for our proposed “Day of Silence” event.  We hope to evaluate that decision later today — and we welcome your input via the “Feedback” form . — KH

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