College Broadcaster

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CRB Appeal, Rate Freeze & etc.

I know there are some that are hanging on every development concerning webcasting rates for college and Educational Stations. I too, have been following every twist and turn, but there hasn’t been much to report on. At least not much that could not have been anticipated.

I have already reported on the IREAs. The good news is that house version has a lot of Cosponsors (111 as of this writing). The Senate version is slowly starting to gather some attention from Cosponsors. If the CRB webcasting rates or the recordkeeping/reporting requirement pose a problem to your station, you should visit the CBI or SNR sites and tell your elected representatives!

The rate determination process allows the participants to ask for a rehearing. That topic has already been covered in a previous post. It also allows the participants to appeal the decision of the CRB in court. Many of the participants, including CBI and IBS have filed an appeal. DiMA, NPR and the small commercial webcasters have also file a “stay”, which is a request that the rate determination be set a side until the court hears the appeals. This would not excuse the webcasters from paying royalties, rather it would allow them to continue to pay under the old rates until the appeal of the new rates has been decided.

The parties to the appeal have until early July to file their list of grievances with the court. As you might suspect, the stay must list reasons why the court should not allow the rates determined by the CRB to take effect. These reasons are likely to outline many of the reasons that the petitioners believe the appeal will be succesful and therefore constitute at least some of the arguments that will be brought forth in the appeal. The stay request lists the following arguments…

The minimum fee is inappropriate and potentially will cost webcasters over a Billion $. For the readers of this blog, the first part is is no surprise and the second part could have been predicted. We have already covered how the CRB determination would impose a minimum $500 fee per channel or station, with no cap. For webcasters that offer customized channels, such as AOL, this means that each listener stream will result in a new $500 fee. We have also discussed how the $500 minimum fee is problematic from a legal standpoint and inappropriate.

The lack of a percentage of revenue for Small Commercial webcasters is raised in the request for a stay as they claim it would devastate the entire segment of webcasters. Quick background… under the SWSA, Small Commercial Webcasters negotiated a settlement that allowed them to pay a percentage of revenue. The CRB rate determination offers no such means of calculating a fee, rather these webcasters are required to pay the same “per performance” fee as large entities.

NPR argues that the minimum fee is exorbitant, that the “cap” is arbitrary and that the stations can’t calculate the figures to determine if they are within the cap or even generate reports of use.

The above is a quick synopsis of the stay. Read the full document if you want more information.

So, tell me, do you want more of this information on a day-to-day basis, or is this format of providing updates as required acceptable?

Will R

June 11, 2007 Posted by | Rates, Recordkeeping, Reports of Use, Webcasting | Leave a comment