Court Hears Copyright Webcasting Case

Last year the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued a decision regarding webcasting royalties for 2021-2025. The decision raised rates for stations. Importantly, the rates applied to all noninteractive webcasters such as broadcasters who are simulcasting their over-the-air signals on the Internet

The per-performance royalty increased to $.0021 for non-subscription streams, up from $.0018.  For subscription streams, the fee increases to $.0026 per performance from $.0023.  A performance is one song played to one listener.  NAB and others appealed this decision.

The US Court of Appeals in DC recently an oral argument on the appeals.  The issue is the  Copyright Royalty Board’s decision setting the royalties for webcasting to be paid to SoundExchange for the period 2021-2025.  NAB argued that broadcasters that simply simulcast their station on the Internet should pay much lower fees.  As expected, Sound Exchange said the rates should be higher.  The National Religious Broadcasters argued that rates for religious stations should be the same as those paid by public radio stations.   This is an important decision for stations that stream their radio stations on the Internet.  We expect a decision in a few months.

For more information go to communications attorney David Oxenford’s broadcast blog here.