A panel of judges at the Copyright Royalty Board has denied a request from the NPR and a number of other webcasters to reconsider a March ruling that would force Internet radio services to pay crippling royalties. The panel's ruling reaffirmed the original CRB decision in every respect, with the exception of how the royalties will be calculated. Instead of charging a royalty for each time a song is heard by a listener online, Internet broadcasters will be able pay royalties based on average listening hours through the end of 2008.
The judges hearing the case had wax clogging their ears:
The judges were unmoved by the webcasters' arguments. "None of the moving parties have made a sufficient showing of new evidence or clear error or manifest injustice that would warrant rehearing," wrote the CRB in its decision. "To the contrary... most of the parties' arguments in support of a rehearing or reconsideration merely restate arguments that were made or evidence that was presented during the proceeding."
Umm, yeah - they said "this ruling will put us out of business". Which part of that was hard to understand? The net-net of this? No revenue stream for the labels from this direction, because the dollar signs are too big. That's probably what the music labels want, because they think they can cap off the net, and force things back to the business model they are familiar with. What it really means is that the major labels have just cordoned themselves off from the internet, and ensured that a new set of businesses will take over that space, charging reasonable amounts of money to air artists who won't be signing with the major labels.