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Fees threaten to silence web radio

According to Save Internet Radio, "America's fledgling Internet radio industry could be effectively killed on May 21st if the U.S. Copyright Office accepts the recommendations of its recent Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel ("CARP") recommendation concerning Internet radio royalty rates and establishes its proposed record-keeping requirements for webcasters."

During the Clinton Administration, Congress passed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), "which established that webcasters must pay 'performance rights' fees to record labels for the music they play... The CARP's recommended rates are currently more than 100% of most Webcasters' gross revenues.

"The Copyright Office is required by Congress to decide whether to accept, reject or modify the CARP's recommended rates by May 21, 2002. If they accept the CARP panel's recommendation, most observers believe that the decision will effectively kill Internet radio as an industry, as the decision could bankrupt all but the three or four largest webcasters."

This is another example of how an idea that might sound like common sense -- namely, copyright -- can be used against the interests of the public it purports to serve.

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