What Wasn’t in the CRB Decision


US Copyright Office

Something that protects broadcast station owners from onerous streaming restrictions seems to be missing from the webcasting royalty rates for 2016 recently released by the Copyright Royalty Board.

Also, now that those affected by the upcoming rate change have had a chance to read more about the new rates, smaller webcasters are realizing what was not in the released decision so far.

We reported on the new rates announced before Christmas, however the full text of the CRB decision has yet to be released.

While the webcasting music royalty rates for commercial stations that stream is going down in the New Year, NAB has noticed that the performance complement waivers negotiated in 2009 with the labels were left out of the latest decision. The performance complement includes limits like not allowing the broadcaster to stream 2 songs from the same CD in a row and no more than 3 songs by the same artist in an hour — to hinder someone from copying streamed digital music, according to Wilkinson Barker Knauer attorney David Oxenford.

The waivers enable stations to ignore the complement restrictions for simulcast streams; they expire this week and NAB has said the broadcast trade lobby is trying to negotiate extensions with the labels.

Small webcasters are left out of what has been released so far from the CRB rate decision and their agreements are set to expire. Oxenford has indicated that no small webcasters took part in the CRB proceeding so there was no one to protect their percentage of royalties. The Radio and Internet Newsletter reports this subgroup is hoping their deals remain intact when the public sees the final text of the CRB decision.