Although the proposed satellite radio merger took up the bulk of the discussion at the hearing, the recent royalty decision for Web casts was also discussed.
The Copyright Royalty Board recently ruled that commercial Webcasters should be charged 0.08¢ per song per listener they played last year, increasing to 0.11¢ per song this year and rising to 0.19¢ per song in 2010.
Robert Kimball, senior vice president, Legal and Business Affairs for RealNetworks, also testified for the Digital Media Association. Members include Apple, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo! and some small Webcasters. “Internet radio suffers from statutory bias,” he said, referring to the copyright decision, which can be appealed.
“We believe the satellite radio merger should be put on hold until Congress delineates a level playing field,” Kimball said, referring to the three different sets of copyright regulations for Internet, satellite and terrestrial radio.
“The future of Internet radio will largely be dictated by whether there’s a level playing field,” he said.