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"This is an important right for artists and record companies. We look forward to working with the broadcasters for a smooth transition into this marketplace."
——Hilary Rosen
COURT RULES RADIO MUST PAY ROYALTIES FOR NET BROADCASTS
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U.S. Copyright Office
Record companies are now entitled to royalties for Internet radio Webcasts. That's according to a decision by the U.S. Copyright Office, to be published in the Federal Register on Monday (12/11).

The ruling, which stated, "Transmissions of a broadcast signal over a digital communications network, such as the Internet, are not exempt from copyright liability," comes as a victory for record labels and a blow to radio stations, which argued over-the-air exemptions should also apply to their Net radio broadcasts.

RIAA head Hilary Rosen  weighed in on the decision, as she is wont to do. "We are gratified the U.S. Copyright Office agreed with our position," she said in a prepared statement. "They reached the right conclusion as a matter of law and sensible policy.

"This is an important right for artists and record com-panies. We look forward to working with the broad-casters for a smooth transition into this marketplace."

Naturally, the National Association of Broadcasters was not happy about the ruling. "This ruling is directly contrary to existing federal law and congressional intent as expressed in the Copyright Act,'' complained NAB President Edward Fritts. ``Broadcasters currently pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the licensing societies representing the authors, composers and publishers, and have never been required to pay additional fees to the record companies and artists.''

While the exact amount has yet to be determined by an arbitration panel, record labels stand to earn millions of dollars in royalties, assuming that stations continue to Webcast. More than 4,000 U.S. radio stations employ Webcasts to broaden their audiences and increase advertising revenues.

 

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