With only a few days left until the July 15 deadline, the battle for Internet radio is running out of time. According to multiple reports, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has denied a "motion to stay" by webcasters for the impending royalty rate hike. An appeal was filed in May, along with the motion to place a hold on the Copyright Royalty Board's decision. However, the court made a brief announcement yesterday, stating the parties did not meet the standards required for a stay to be granted.
“We are pleased by this decision, which vividly demonstrates that the Copyright Royalty Judges got it right when they set royalty rates and terms for the use of music on Internet radio,” said John Simson, Executive Director of SoundExchange, in a statement. “This is a major victory for recording artists and record labels whose hard work and creativity provides the music around which the Internet radio business is built. Notwithstanding this victory, we continue to reach out to the webcasting community to reach business solutions.”
Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA), the original co-sponsor of the Internet Radio Equality Act, spoke at length to the House of Representatives earlier this week, asking Congress for help. He described Web radio as "ingrained in a lot of Americans' daily lives as a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper."
Inslee added, "We need to fix this problem. We need to fix it urgently, because the decision will, this guillotine will come down on July 15 if either Congress doesn't act or an agreement is not reached between the parties to adjust this copyright fee that will have to be paid by the Webcasters."
Additionally, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has called together members of the music and webcasting industry today for a meeting aimed at a settlement of the royalty debate. Markey is Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee.
The Save Net Radio organization is immediately urging webcasters, artists, labels and Internet radio listeners to contact members of Congress to push an immediate vote on the Internet Radio Equality Act.
SoundExchange still hopes to negotiate with webcasters over aspects of the new royalties and fees. "It is our feeling that, with today’s ruling and a strong push to resolve these outstanding issues, we can now go forward together to provide the best listening experience possible for music fans," said Simson. "We look forward to working with our partners, the webcasters, to grow opportunities across the board for Internet radio operators and recording artists."