Dan Sprumont, a junior communications media major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (in Indiana, Pa.) has produced a terrific look at the 2009 CBI/CMA College Media Convention. He is currently the promotions coordinator for WIUP-TV (Chan. 20) which reaches over 70,000 homes in the Western Pennsylvania region. Sprumont filmed the video while attending the CBI/CMA convention in New York city recently. Click on the image above to view his work.
CBI considers the developments concerning webcasting and the Performance Rights act to be critical to the survival of radio and web stations at educational institions. There is a lot happening that you need to be aware of so that you can support the survival of your station.
1. The performance rights act, as proposed by MusicFirst, would require all FCC licensed non-commercial radio stations to pay $1,000 per year for playing music sent to you by the labels who beg you to play their music. Further, the performance rights act would require your station to submit to recordkeeping requirements that would likely require you to submit data concerning every single song you play, including the artist, the song title, the album name and the record label. Congressmen Green and Conaway have introduced a bill to stop the performance rights act. We encourage stations to support LOCAL RADIO FREEDOM ACT by visiting Free Radio Alliance. Well over 100 representatives have already signed on to this bill, but more are needed. Call your representative today and tell them that they need to sign on to the LOCAL RADIO FREEDOM ACT.
2. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which determines rates and recordkeeping requirements for webcasters has issued a proposed rule that would effectively kill all college webcasters using music (see https://www.askcbi.org/?page_id=207 ). Your input to the rule creation process is essential.
3. Right now, Educational stations can webcast to a small audience of 218 concurrent listners on average before exceeding the minium fee. A rate setting process is currently underway that could substantially raise the minimum fee and lower the average concurrent listeners before exceeding the maximum fee to a low of one half a listener!
It is essential to the survival of college and educational radio and webcasting that all stations start paying attention and start telling Congress and the CRB that we won’t sit quietly while our survival is at stake. In order to be a part of the solution, you need to be informed. Join the CBI email list, RSS feed, Twitter or Facebook group and stay informed and stay active against corporate greed and regulators who don’t understand.
As posted a few days ago, both the House and Senate saw the introduction of the Performance Rights Act, again after failing to come to a vote in the 110th Congress. The bill would require FCC licensed non-commercial stations to pay an annual fee of $1000 and subject them to new recordkeeping regulations, likely similar to those imposed on webcasters as well as content restrictions. The NAB has countered with The Local Radio Freedom Act.
CBI is opposed to Performance Rights Act due to the financial strain it will place on already tapped student stations, the burdens it will impose and the costs associated with those burdens and the impact it will have one programming. It will take a sustained effort to keep these new fees, requirements and restrictions from becoming law.
Likewise, student stations, FCC licensed or not, that are webcasting, are facing these same issues with an annual minimum $500 per year, recordkeeping requirements (see recent developments on a proposal to increase requirements) and content restrictions.
Webcasters had a chance to negotiate a settlement for the rates and terms for webcasting for the 2006-2010 license period and the upcoming 2011-2015 license period. This opportunity came about due to the Webcaster Settlement Act (WSA) which became law due to widespread displeasure with the outcome of the 2006-2010 rate setting process. The deadline for reaching a negotiated settlement with SoundExchange was February 15, 2009. To our knowledge, only NPR and NAB reached a settlement. At least some of the details of those settlements will be made public in the near future and we will report on them here. CBI did participate in negotiations, but was unable reach a settlement with SoundExchange.
As indicated in our post on recent developments on the proposed changes to recordkeeping, CBI continues to work on this issue and encourages stations to participate. In order for webcasting and broadcasting radio stations to remain viable, it is essential that all concerned pay attention to these issues and participate when action is requested.
On December 30, 2008, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking . The notice contained at least three substantial changes to the current recordkeeping procedures used college and high school webcasters that do not pay any more than the minimum fee to SoundExchange. One of these changes include a switch from sample periods of 14 days each calendar quarter to census (24/7/365) reporting. That means instead of compiling data about programming for 56 days of the year, stations would now need to compile data for every day of the year. Another proposed change would eliminate the use of “Aggregate Tuning Hours” (ATH) in reports of use. ATH is a calculation of the total number of hours that people listen to a station. For example, if 1 person listens for one hour, the ATH would be 1. If 10 people listen for that same hour, the ATH would be 10. In lieu of reporting ATH, the CRB proposes that stations would need to report any and all listening to each song. The third change would be the introduction of a deadline to submit reports of use. Currently, there is no deadline, which is something that needed to be addressed. The CRB, however, chose to require monthly reports of use and that they be submitted on or before the 45th day after the close of each month. Obviously, this will create a problem for many school stations that have long breaks, such as during the winter or summer.
Read the complete story, including copies of submitted comments in the proceeding.
UPDATE: CBI has submitted a Motion to allow for reply comments. If granted, this would allow CBI and any station to submit comments in reply to the comments made by SoundExchange which support the proposal for census reporting, per performance reporting and monthly reporting of those statistics within 45 days after the close of each month. All interested parties that want to express their thoughts on the comments submitted by SoundExchange should file a motion in support of the CBI motion. It is simple to do and may be submitted via email. Questions? Copyright@askcbi.org.
Additionally, Congress passed a bill called the Webcaster Settlement Act, which allowed Webcasters and services to negotiate a settlement concerning fees and terms, including recordkeeping through 2015. It appears at this point that NPR and NAB have reached settlements. The noncommercial and educational stations, to our knowledge have not reached an agreement and the deadline to reach a settlement has passed. More details are provided on all of this at Read the complete story.
CBI and WHRB ask Copyright Royalty Board to Extend Deadline to File Comments on Expanded Webcasting Rules
Washington, DC – January 16, 2009 – College Broadcasters, Inc., (CBI) a national membership association of non-profit, student-staffed radio stations and electronic media outlets and Harvard Radio Broadcasting Co., Inc., the student-operated FM broadcast station WHRB 95.3FM, based on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, filed a joint motion for additional time to collect data and submit comments to the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) with respect to proposed new rules for webcasting. These new regulations concern the recordkeeping and the reporting requirements for internet radio stations and will have a major impact for small, non-profit webcasters staffed by students on college, university and high school campuses across the US. (more…)
There are a number of big things on the horizon for college stations that webcast soundrecordings either as a simulcast of their broadcast or as their sole means of reaching an audience, including those who want to start a webcast.
1. 2009 royalty payments to SoundExchange are due by 1/31/2009. Many, but not all stations have received a letter from SoundExchange (“SX”) concerning this obligation to pay royalties for 2009. SX will not invoice stations. Stations need to download the appropriate “Statement of Account” from the SX web site, complete the form and submit the payment in the form of a check. While some stations have been advised that no payment is needed while rate negotiations continue, SX has disputed that advice in a letter mailed to many stations and CBI concurs. Another twist on the advice stations have received is that they should continue to pay at their old rates, if they were lower than the new rates (which is true for most college stations), while rate negotiations continue. CBI does not subscribe to this thought process as most college stations operate on limited year-to-year budgets and following this advice could financially harm your station if rate negotiations don’t end up at the old rate.
2. Just as timely and likely more important, there are POTENTIAL changes to the recordkeeping requirements on the horizion, as proposed by the Copyright Royalty Board (“CRB”). Currently, stations are required to keep records concerning each sound recording that is webcast for 14 days each calendar quarter. Details concerning the information to be kept are available in the webcasting section of the site. One of the more troubling aspect of the recordkeeping regulations currently in place is the requirement to report “aggregate tuning hours” or “ATH”. ATH is the total number of listener hours to your stream during the reporting period. For example, if 1 person listens to your stream for 1 hour, your ATH is 1. If 10 people listen to your stream for 1 hour, your ATH is 10. Through in person discussions at conferences and other means of communication, we are aware that many stations find it difficult or impossible to accurately determine ATH. Unfortunately, the proposed rules set a higher bar for reporting your streaming audience. (more…)
UPDATE: The bill has been approved in both houses of Congress. This bill makes some aspects of negotiation a little easier, but does not signal that a compromise is imminent. Details concerning this development will follow.
The bill referenced below has passed the House, but it still needs to be passed in the Senate. There needs to be one simple change in the Senate version of the bill and YOU need to make a phone call to make it happen!
Please call each and everyone of the Senators at http://judiciary.senate.gov/about/members.cfm and ask them to pass the house version of this bill with one simple amendment. That amendment would allow non-commercial webcasters to submit a settlement by the end of the statuatry required settlement conference (37 CFR 351.7). I know this sounds a little complicated, but just make the calls and tell them that noncommercial webcasters need an extended deadline for submitting a negotiated settlement.
CBI is working diligently to protect the interests of its members. You can support our efforts by making the phone calls and by urging others to do the same via your email lists, blogs, myspace accounts, facebook accounts and web pages.
A bill (HR 7084) was introduced into the House today regarding webcasting. It appears to be on a fast track. The bill is called the “Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008”. A copy of the bill is available on the CBI web site.
This bill essentially duplicates the Small Commercial Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002 (SWSA), but expands the scope of those who may enter into the agreement beyond small commercial webcasters and noncommercial webcasters to include commercial and noncommercial webcasters. In short, this allows SoundExchange (SX) and webcasters to enter into a settlement that would cover all copyrighted sound recordings. Any agreement entered into by webcasters and SX prior to the passing of this legislation would not encompass recordings by artists and copyright holders that are not members of SoundExchange. Even if passed, this bill would not solve all the issues that webcasters have with SX, but it does alleviate a major concern of many college stations who webcast music by those who are not members of SX. Another item to note is that this bill would allow a negotiated settlement to run through 2016. If a settlement is reached that runs through 2016, it would alleviate the need for parties to enter the arbitration process at beginning of 2009 as currently required by law.One other difference here is that the SWSA provided a staggered settlement deadline. The first deadline was for small commercial webcasters in December of 2002 and a second deadline was May 31, 2003. This allowed for time for the various entities to enter into substantially different agreements, with the later being negotiated right up to the deadline, over a holiday weekend. This bill puts the deadline for all webcasting settlements at the same time, December 15, 2008**. Given the time constraints for negotiations, potential for more parties wanting to negotiate a settlement than in 2002-3, the stonewalling of SX in the negotiation process, the other business on the hill, and a pending recess, it is difficult to gauge how optimistic one should be about the potential of this bill passing both houses, being signed into law and the ability to reach a settlement.
The NAB appears to have its own thoughts on the news.
NAB has concerns related to Congress attempting to fast-track a bill introduced less than 24 hours ago that could have serious implications for broadcasters, webcasters, and consumers of music. NAB spent more than a year trying to work out an equitable agreement on webcasting rates, only to be stonewalled by SoundExchange and the record labels. We will continue to work with policymakers on a solution that is fair to all parties.” ( (CNET)
We will continue to work on this issue. For more information, contact Will Robedee at 713-854-1737.
** The version of the bill that passed the House changed the deadline for negotiated settlements to February 15, 2009 for all webcasters.