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  Daily news and commentary on the key issues involving radio and the Internet Link to previous issue link to next issue   
logo In light of recent news, we're re-focusing the agenda for our annual RAIN Las Vegas Summit, which will be held all day on Monday, April 16th at the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas. More details are coming, but in the meantime, scheduling and location information is here. Please plan on joining us if you can!

Our original coverage of the Copyright Royalty Board royalty determination, including a table of the new rates, can be found in our March 2 edition here. An editorial dealing with Copyright law issues can be found in our March 16 edition here. [A PDF of the decision is available here.]

Headline: "CRB agrees to hear arguments from groups seeking rehearing"

The Copyright Royalty Board announced late yesterday it is considering "Motions for Rehearing" filed by various parties affected by the Board's recent webcast royalty determination.

Previously, both
Radio & Records and CNet News had mistakenly reported that a rehearing had been granted by the CRB in the royalty rate case. While it is promising that the Board is agreeing to hear motions, no rehearing has been granted at this time.

Many advocates of Internet radio see the decision to hear motions as a "first step" toward the resolution of problematic issues surrounding the royalty rate decision.

In a brief issued yesterday afternoon [.pdf], Chief Copyright Royalty Judge James Scott Sledge wrote that crbthe Board "desires to hear the positions of each party on each of the issues raised in these motions." The brief also notes that the responses to the motion must be filed by April 2nd.

Since the CRB's March 2nd announcement of the proposed royalty rates there has been
a swift and massively negative response to the decision stson behalf of journalists, advocates, webcasters and listeners alike.

Over the past number of days, tens of thousands of fans have poured into petition signing sites like and, while press outlets from the Wall Street Journal to have been quick to give the issue a continuing spotlight.

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PETITION UPDATE: Please keep Internet radio alive!
was at over 31,669 signatures as of 1PM CT today (up from 19,400 last Friday). Today's sample signature:
# Name Thanks to Internet radio, have your CD (or music download) purchases (01) gone up, (02) stayed the same, or (03) gone down? Do you feel that the existence of Internet radio helps or hurts the music industry? Other comments
31615 Chris Bennett   The existence of Internet radio helps the music industry by exposing potential customers to music they might not otherwise hear. Thus it could lead listeners to purchase CDs of music they would not normally have heard much less purchased. Internet radio has been a huge contributor to my quality of life both at home and at work.
Internet radio listeners are currently signing this petition to Congress at the rate of several hundred listeners every hour -- with most of them adding insightful comments about their music purchase behavior!  (Read more comments here.) If you'd like to link to this petition from your website, you'll find tools (banner, buttons, PSAs) and links at RAIN's Another petition with tens of thousands of additional signatures is available, if you prefer its design, here.

Headline: "Royalty rate fears force int'l webcast to lock out U.S. listeners"
The chilling effect of the recent CRB decision on Internet radio streams is already being felt, as a large international webcast has ceased mediacorp radio streaming to the United States until questions about copyright royalty rate issues are clarified.

According to a message in the MediaCorp Radio simulcast player window, U.S. users have been blocked out of the station's streams "due to unresolved copyright issues."

The CRB ruling does not explicitly delineate when webcasters streaming to the U.S. will be called upon to begin paying royalties under the new proposed rates.

mediacorp radio silenced

One fear has been that, given the retroactive reach of the decision, some webcasters might cease operations immediately in order to avoid accruing further debt while a final decision is still pending.

This appears to be the first instance of a broadcast company that has silenced streaming operations to the U.S. as a response to the CRB decision. It is an unsettling development, and one that is likely to be repeated until numerous ambiguities raised by the ruling can be answered definitively.


Headline: "'Feeling labels' pain,' Chicago FM won't give away any more CDs"
Matt DuBiel and Chicago broadcaster 9 FM want to bring the record industry in from the cold, wrap it in a warm, wool blanket, and give it a mug of cocoa.

If the labels need to "price gouge" broadcasters and webcasters for streaming royalties [see RAIN's coverage here], they must really be hurting.

So, in an act of mock solidarity with record labels — whose precarious financial position is the only possible rationale for preposterously high webcaster royalty fees, the station posits — the wide-format Adult Hits broadcaster has announced that it will no longer give away free CDs to listeners.

"We're Banning CD Give Aways On Our Air" was the headline of a "news release" Program Director DuBiel sent to the press and posted on the station site.

“When I read that the RIAA and SoundExchange needed money so badly that they were going to price gouge independent web streamers and radio stations who stream online, I knew we had to do our part,” DuBiel explains.

Broadcast outlets like 9 FM face the same prohibitive cost structure as "pure webcasters" under the proposed royalty rates.

A typical FM broadcaster, with little or no hope of seeing a profit from its station stream under the new royalty, may simply turn it off. 9 FM, however, is "trimulcast" on three separate frequencies around the Chicago area. It's not only harder to find on the dial, but there are reception issues as well. Bottom line: for 9 FM and its listeners, streaming is likely far more important than for a typical broadcaster with a city-grade signal.

DuBiel's station is airing public service announcements which encourage listeners to visit the station site and sign a petition in protest of the Copyright Royalty Board decision.

“In the face of the RIAA’s struggles, it just doesn’t seem fair for us to be giving away CDs (for free) to music fans fully capable of paying for the music themselves," DuBiel (at left) said in the news release. Listeners are invited to exchange CDs prizes they've won in the past year for 9 FM t-shirts. DuBiel says he'll give the CDs back to the RIAA.

"Radio stations need to be able to stream online affordably,” he said.

Newsweb Radio Company’s 9 FM trimulcasts on 92.5 fm (WDEK), 92.7 fm (WKIE), 99.9 fm (WRZA) and streams online at


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    Kurt and Paul, this is deep background -- don't quote me!



RAIN coverage of the 2002 CARP royalty rate ruling

Feb. 20, 2002 CARP rec.'s .07-cent fee for radio webcasts, twice that for 'Net only
Feb. 21, 2002 Industry reacts to CARP royalty rates for Internet broadcasts
Feb. 25, 2002 Industry still stunned by CARP arbitrators' recommendation.
Feb. 27, 2002 CARP arbitrators gave RIAA more than they asked for!
April 18, 2002 Mercury News editorial
April 22, 2002 Day of Silence announced
April 23, 2002 More support in Congress
April 25, 2002 Day of Silence is ON!
April 29, 2002 DOS in USA Today, NY Post
May 1, 2002 Day of Silence
June 20, 2002 Librarian Decision
June 24, 2002 Cuban on Yahoo deal
July 11, 2002 Labels to Net radio: Die Now!
October 1, 2002 Forbes coverage (scroll down)
November 15, 2002 Small Webcasters Settlement Act
December 16, 2002 Small commercial webcaster license

With the royalty crisis facing the industry, this year's RAIN Las Vegas Summit '07(during NAB 2007 in Las Vegas) may be the most important ever.

The all-day Summit is scheduled for Monday, April 16th, (with our customary cocktail hour following), just steps from the Las Vegas Convention Center at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel. (That's the Convention Center on the left in the photo above.)

Over the next few weeks
, we'll announce an updated meeting agenda and give you a run-down of scheduled guest speakers.

We hope you can join us!
Upcoming conferences
March 19-22 Video on the Net: San Jose, CA
March 22 Bayliss Roast: New York, NY
April 14-19 NAB 2007: Las Vegas, NV
April 16 RAIN NAB Reader Summit: Las Vegas, NV
April 24 Leadership Music Digital Summit: Nashville, TN
September 26-27 NAB Radio Show: Charlotte, NC
November 4-6 NAB European Radio Conference: Barcelona, Spain