Australian radio stations shutting off webcasts over licensing fee increase
A news report from Australian media outlet mUmBRELLA indicates that about 200 commercial radio stations in Australia will shut off their Internet webcasts to avoid paying additional licensing fees levied a year ago. The stations have been streaming their broadcast signals on the Internet during an interim period since last February. That interim period ends, and the new licensing period begins, at midnight of January 31 (Australian time, of course).
The new statutory licensing fee for webcasts was decided by the Australian Copyright Tribunal, and instituted by a federal court ruling. That ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by a music-label lobbying group, the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).
Radio stations are resisting the additional licensing cost applied to Internet simulcasts that are identical to the terrestrial signals. Quoted remarks by Joan Warner, head of Commercial Radio Australia, compare Internet listening to clock-radio listening and car listening ï¿½ in other words, one of many convenient listening options for the same content and the same presentation. Joan Warner also indicated that the licensing judgment last February stopped some stations from beginning a webcast.
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