The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is getting a taste of its own medicine, after a number of small webcasters filed an antitrust suit against it.
The Webcaster Alliance, which has a membership of 198 radio stations, claims that the RIAA has acted uncompetitively and has attempted to push independent music stations offline.
The row about existing royalty rates for internet radio stations has rumbled on for a number of months.
In November 2002 the US Congress passed a bill that ratified private negotiations between the RIAA and a group called the Voice of Webcasters.
The bill set royalty rates at a percentage of revenue instead of a flat fee per song, which, the organisation said, would protect small independent online stations.
Some webcasters agreed with the new model, but those left out of the negotiations have claimed that it will put them out of business.
The RIAA has said that the matter is settled and has refused to renegotiate, which has led to the action from the Webcaster Alliance.
Webcaster Alliance president, Ann Gabriel, said in a statement: "We have watched the RIAA's actions ... have the effect of wiping out an entire industry of independent webcasters who represent freedom of choice and diversity for internet radio listeners.
"It is time for the RIAA to be held accountable for years of manipulating an entire industry in order to stifle the growth of independent music and control internet content and distribution channels."
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