Satellite Royalty Ruling Prompts Parity Outcry

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A recently-passed satellite radio royalty rate is now stirring an outcry among internet broadcasters.

Just this week, the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) passed revenue-based royalty percentage requirements for XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, starting at 6 percent annually.  SoundExchange wanted more, though the ruling could eventually force reductions in recently-issued webcaster rates.

The reason is that satellite radio is receiving a more favorable rate than their internet radio counterparts, a disparity that online broadcasters are addressing.  Just recently, a consortium of larger broadcasters represented by the Digital Media Association (DiMA) requested parity from lawmakers.  “All radio services compete for advertising dollars, paying subscribers, or both,” the group declared in a letter to House Intellectual Property Subcommittee chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).  “Our companies compete aggressively with one another, and with broadcast, satellite and cable radio,” the group continued.

The consortium – which includes AOL, Yahoo, RealNetworks, Live365 and Pandora – has been rallying aggressively against steeper rates since an unfavorable ruling in July.