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Copyright judges decline to reconsider webcast royalty increase

[JURIST] A panel of US copyright judges Monday denied a request [PDF order] by a group of private and public webcasters to reconsider a royalty hike for playing digital music that broadcasters say could ruin the webcasting industry. The Copyright Royalty Board [official website] last month decided to change the system [PDF determination of rates] by which Internet broadcasters must pay royalties to artists and recording companies, charging a fee for every time an online listener plays a song rather than charging according to average listening hours.

A wide number of radio stations and Internet broadcasters, including National Public Radio [organization website], Yahoo Inc. [corporate website], and Time Warner Inc. [corporate website], had objected to the change. Many are concerned that the new system will destroy the webcasting industry because most cannot afford to pay more royalties. The new system will take effect May 15. A lawyer representing several webcasters said they may appeal the issue to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [official website]. AP has more.

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