No doomsday for Net radio...yet

SoundExchange has agreed to postpone a rate increase on Net radio stations and conduct talks. But the legal situation remains murky.

Looks like there's been a truce in the fight over Net radio.

After threatening to impose per-song performance royalties on Net radio stations, which could have increased costs for some Net broadcasters by hundreds of millions of dollars, royalty collection agency SoundExchange offered to delay the new royalty payments until 2008.

Savenetradio.org, a coalition representing Internet radio broadcasters, rejected that previous offer, saying that the threat of drastically increased fees in 2008 was little better than the July 15 deadline, as it would staunch any investment into Net radio. An eleventh-hour court appeal failed, and it looked like doomsday would strike on July 15.

Now, it looks like the parties will continue to negotiate past July 15, and SoundExchange won't insist on the new royalties for the time being. However, while Savenetradio.org trumpeted the continuing negotiations as a triumph on its home page, the legal situation still appears to be murky. According to a SoundExchange spokesperson, if negotations break down, and if Net radio stations haven't been paying the new fees, they will still be liable for them.

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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.

     

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