The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Association for Independent Music and the American Federation of Musicians of the U.S. and Canada have sided with the RIAA, while Clear Channel, AOL Time Warner and Viacom are challenging the proposed rate.

WEB ROYALTY TRIAL BEGINS

Surprisingly, The Trial To Determine How Much Webcasters Should Pay Is Not On Court TV
An anticipated web arbitration trial to determine how much webcasters should have to pay in royalties to record labels and musicians began in Washington Monday (7/30) with the RIAA reiterating its proposed rate for music streamed on the Internet.

Concerned music industry parties were quick to choose sides in the ongoing battle after the RIAA said it was perfectly reasonable in proposing that webcasters pay 15 cents an hour, or .014 cents per song, for music streamed.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Association for Independent Music and the American Federation of Musicians of the U.S. and Canada have sided with the RIAA, while Clear Channel, AOL Time Warner and Viacom are challenging the proposed rate. AOLTW’s concerns revolve around its Spinner.com streaming site and Viacom is the parent of MTV, which offers streaming services.

"Our industry shouldn't have to subsidize the likes of AOL Time Warner, Viacom and Clear Channel,'' said RIAA rep Bob Garrett. Lawyers for the artists' guilds added royalties for streaming music represent an important new source of revenue, particularly for backup musicians.

The opposition, however, claims the RIAA’s proposed royalty rate is too high and would cripple Internet ventures.

The U.S. Copyright Office, who is overseeing the proceedings, appointed three judges last week, after it became obvious an agreeable royalty rate would not be reached. The two sides will have until mid-September to plead their respective cases. The panel will forward its decision to the head of the Copyright Office early next year and a final royalty rate will be determined by April or May.

The trial is expected to begin today (7/31) with RIAA honcho and Capital Hill favorite Hilary Rosen, who is scheduled to testify first. Rosen, now a regular at these "events," will reportedly not be asked to recite frisky Eminem lyrics this time, but may have to answer for "John Denver’s Greatest Hits" being certified nine-times Platinum last month.

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