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WEB ROYALTY REQUIREMENT STAYS

U.S. Copyright Office Rejects Attempt to Delay Implementation of Fee

The U.S. Copyright Office refused to suspend the requirement that radio stations pay royalties to labels and artists for the songs they broadcast over the Internet, according to published reports.

As a consequence, stations that simulcast on the Web will have to pay four years' worth of back royalties Oct. 20.

A coalition of broadcasters, led by the National Association of Broadcasters, Clear Channel Communications, Cox Radio and Emmis Communications, asked to delay implementation of the royalty payment until after their appeals were finished.

The Copyright Office, however, ruled that the broadcasters were unlikely to win their appeal or suffer irreparable harm if they paid the royalties, which amount to $92 per listener per year for all-music stations.

In denying broadcasters' request to stay implementation of the order until they had exhausted their appeals, Registrar of Copyrights Mary Beth Peters said Friday that broadcasters had failed to show that they had an overwhelming chance of winning their lawsuit.

The House of Representatives passed a bill last week to cut the royalties owed by small companies that broadcast music on the Interent, but none of the seven chains is likely to qualify. The bill is still pending in the Senate.

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