On the same day that many webcasters were on Capitol Hill lobbying for the Internet Radio Equality Act, the Copyright Royalty Board issued its Final Determination of Rates and Terms today, and it was published in the Federal Register. That action starts the clock ticking on appeals which must now be filed in 30 days. In the Final Determination, the Board included a few revisions in its initial decision, reflecting the issues that it addressed in response to the Rehearing motions – including provisions adding a transitional period of two years during which webcasters can pay using an Aggregate Tuning Hour formula instead of paying based on each performance. Surprisingly, the Board also amended the rules that it adopted governing the timing of the first payment under the new royalty rate, making the first payment due 45 days from the end of the month during which the Final Determination was issued. As the decision was issued today, May 1, that would delay the due date for the first payments under the new royalties until July 15.
The statute governing the Copyright Royalty Board allowed the Library of Congress to review the CRB decision to determine if the Librarian (through the Copyright Office) saw any obvious errors of law. Apparently, the Librarian found none (though that does not mean that there are not issues that can be raised on appeal), leading to the publication of the decision in the Federal Register. Appeals are due 30 days after that publication. On that date, parties file a Notice of Appeal, which provides notice to the Court of Appeals that parties believe that the decision was in error. After those notices are filed, the Court will set briefing schedules and oral arguments. The appeal process that can take a year or more before a decision is rendered.
Our previous coverage of the CRB proceeding can be found, here.