According to Wired, a SoundExchange executive who addressed Congress today regarding the royalty increases promised, unequivocally, that they will not enforce the new royalty rates come Monday of next week. This breath of fresh air comes as a welcomed relief to thousands of webcasters who feared having to cease operations over the weekend without an emergency intervention by the Congress.
The new rates would have gone into effect on Sunday, leaving the door open for collection of royalties to begin Monday morning. Eliot Van Buskirk had an opportunity to interview Pandora founder Tim Westergren in the minutes following the announcement, an interview in which Westergren expressed great relief.
He said, “It was getting pretty close. I always had underlying optimism that sanity was going to prevail, but I was beginning to wonder.”
He said everyone who called their Congress person about this should feel that they had an effect on the process:
“This is a direct result of lobbying pressure, so if anyone thinks their call didn’t matter, it did. That’s why this is happening.” The flyer DiMA distributed to Congress today probably helped a bit too, but overall, it appears Congress intervened due to pressure from web radio listeners.
The article goes on to elucidate that nobody really took the Copyright Royalty Board’s per-channel minimum fees very seriously from the beginning. As of now, the per-channel minimums are no longer even being considered nor will they be enforced. Further to that end, it seems that SoundExchange and webcasters will be negotiating the new rates without influence from the Copyright Royalty Board, largely due to the CRB’s unwillingness to offer a rehearing. (Read the Full Story At Wired)