On May 2, I wrote about an order due to take effect this week requiring Internet streaming radio stations to pay punishingly high royalties for songs – far higher than comparable royalties for conventional radio stations. It was the result of strongarm tactics by the recording industry to end web broadcasting, since no broadcaster could have afforded to pay the royalties.
There’s been a temporary reprieve. After fierce lobbying and a bit of a public outcry, the Librarian of Congress issued a terse order rejecting the proposed rates and promising a final decision on June 20. It’s not obvious that the new rates will be lower, although that’s the most likely result. The recording industry, in its typical lovable fashion, insists that the proposed rates were too low and the final rates ought to be even higher than the arbitration panel had proposed.