Thousands of internet radio stations in the US are facing closure because of a dramatic rise in the royalty fees webcasters must pay musicians and record companies.
Web radio stations cried foul last year when a Library of Congress arbitration panel set a per-song fee of 0.14 cents per listener late last year.
They hoped that librarian James Billington would cut the fees to something more manageable, but are unhappy with the final level of 0.07 cents per song per listener revealed by Billington on Thursday.
One said that the charges would put him out of business and destroy internet radio.
The problem, say the stations, is that paying such a fee would eat up almost all of their gross revenue.
Internet radio stations must pay two sets of copyright fees. One royalty, set at 3.5 per cent of total revenues, goes to the songwriters and publishers of a piece of music. The other fee is shared equally by the performers and the record company.
Normal radio stations pay only the music publishing fee, not the royalties for musicians and record labels.
Billington's decision is likely be challenged in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
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