US House Committee to hear web radio plea

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US House Committee to hear web radio plea

Testimonies aim to curb crippling rate hikes.

The US House Small Business Committee will conduct a hearing today to assess the impact of a pending rate hike for internet radio stations. 

New rates scheduled to go into effect on 15 July will raise the copyright licence fees for broadcasters of internet radio by up to 1,200 percent. The US Copyright Royalty Board introduced the increases in March.

The hikes will hit small broadcasters especially, whose fees in many cases will outstrip revenues. The move has sparked a fierce debate and caused a national day of internet radio silence on Tuesday.

The US Copyright Royalty Board consists of three judges appointed for six-year terms. The body is responsible for determining and adjusting the rates and terms of licences as well as determining the distribution of royalties.

The House Committee hearing is part of proposed legislation that seeks to overturn the judges' decisions and modify the rules on which they base their fees.

The Committee will hear testimony from independent musicians, record labels, online radio station operators and National Public Radio.
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