B’casters sue RIAA over proposed Internet fees

Music org believes radio stations should pay for 'Netcasts

WASHINGTON — Paying once is enough, said the National Assn. of Broadcasters in a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Recording Industry Assn. of America, which wants radio stations to pay extra fees if they duplicate their signals on an Internet feed.

Hundreds of radio stations are now simulcasting over the Internet, and the RIAA thinks broadcasters should pay additional copyright fees for streaming music over the Internet. But in a suit filed in New York district court, the NAB argues that such a demand is a violation of 1998 copyright law.

The dispute between the two trade groups is just the latest front in what is becoming a World Wide Web war over copyrights. In addition to the recording companies, movie studios and even broadcasters have gone to court to protect their copyrighted material on the Internet.

“Congress never intended for over-the-air radio stations that also stream their signals on the Internet to be subject to new expensive copyright fees,” NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton told Reuters.

Broadcasters argue that they already pay fees for the use of music to royalty collection groups such as BMI and ASCAP.

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