Both sides appeal Net radio ruling

No one is happy with a June decision by the U.S. Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress on the rates webcasters are to be charged per song. Both sides of the dispute, Internet music broadcasters and the Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA), which represents the major music labels, appealed the decision on Wednesday.

The ruling by the Copyright Office, handed down on June 20, set the royalty rates for music broadcast over the Internet at US$0.70 per song, per 1,000 listeners. However, the Internet music broadcasters contend that this rate is still too high and the RIAA is arguing that the decision is unfair to artists and record labels.

Over two dozen Internet radio stations, including America Online Inc., Virgin Audio Holdings LLC and Inc. filed Notices of Appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., the Digital Media Association said in a statement.

The RIAA filed its intent to appeal the Copyright Office's decision on Wednesday, the deadline for doing so, on behalf of the major recording labels and will officially file its briefs "later in the year," it said in a separate statement.

In June, the Librarian of Congress said in a position paper that it accepted the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights and rejected the rates and terms recommended by a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP), which had suggested rates of $1.40 per song, per thousand listeners, "because significant portions of it were arbitrary or contrary to law."

Jonathan Potter, executive director of the Digital Media Association, said in a statement Wednesday that he was still hoping for a negotiated resolution that would enable the industry to withdraw the appeal, but the RIAA seemed intrenched in its position, he said.

For its part, the RIAA accused the Librarian of Congress of "significantly undervaluing the music used by Internet radio companies" while also improperly throwing out 140 licensing deals that the record companies and RIAA had signed with webcasters.

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