Copyright Royalty Board kills Internet radio

Those fine politicians, along with the unelected officials they hire, are improving everyone's lives yet again. Yes - this time, it is by killing effectively all forms of Internet radio.

The Copyright Royalty Board of the U.S. Library of Congress has seen it fit to set per-listener performance rates so high that, for someone who listens to Internet radio 8 hours a day for 20 days a month, the Internet radio company will have to pay $3 per month just in performance fees. With all the other costs an Internet radio company has to pay, this means they would have to collect at least $6 per month from every listener.

It is unlikely that any Internet radio company can survive on these terms. Why would anyone pay $6 per month, when you can just pay nothing and turn on the regular FM radio? Additionally, the schedule is such that the rates are going to double by 2010 anyway.

And, yeah, here's the kicker: just in case any Internet radio company managed to survive these new rates in some freakish way, the Board decided to set these rates retroactively since 2006!

This means that my favorite radio station would have to pay about $500,000 in back fees for past performance alone - due immediately. This means they will be forced to close unless - and this is iffy - they can strike a more palatable deal with the RIAA.

So, let's sing one big hip-hip-hurray for the government and politicians! Oh, where would we be without them?

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