The Library of Congress and Copyright Royalty Judges

There has been substantial public interest in a recent decision by a federal court not to forestall a ruling by the Copyright Royalty Judges that increases royalties paid by Internet radio stations, effective this coming Sunday, July 15. (By the way, I?m told ?Copyright Royalty Judges? and is their preferred name, not the ?Copyright Royalty Board,? which is based on the wording of their authorizing statute?their own Web site notwithstanding.)

Since the decision, some of the webcasters have expressed doubts about their future viability.

Some of the stories in the media (here and here, for example) refer to the Copyright Royalty Judges as being ?of? or ?part of? the Library of Congress. This is accurate only to a certain point.

The law establishing the Copyright Royalty Judges gave the Librarian of Congress the power to appoint the judges. Their offices are housed at the Library of Congress, which also provides them administrative support.

But that is about the extent to which they are ?part of? the Library of Congress. The Judges? enabling legislation grants them:

full independence in making determinations concerning adjustments and determinations of copyright royalty rates and terms, the distribution of copyright royalties, the acceptance or rejection of royalty claims, rate adjustment petitions, and petitions to participate, and in issuing other rulings under this title [?]

The ruling is set to take effect this coming Sunday (July 15). Legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate to nullify the ruling.

UPDATE: Another bill has been introduced to allow time to resolve the issue.


  1. Wassabi Cracker
    July 14, 2007 at 10:06 am

    So that’s it, huh? You’re not going to explain to anyone about how the administrative appeals process works? Any government body which has knowledge about the procedures which sorround this fiasco of a process has a duty to share that knowledge with the public, particularly in times of duress, it’s called sunshine. It really appears as if LoC has been “captured” by special interestes, just like every other government institution in the last 7 years. It really seems like the LoC is just another instrument in a wave of exploitative and pro-monopoly policy by this administration. Regardless of the fact that many will lose their jobs (including those egotistically seeking to be referred to as “judges”), how do you deal with the burdens on your conscience about the fact that THOUSANDS of voices are about to go silent (each with a story)? Isn’t this a blow to American culture? Having the boundaries of our speech -free or commercial- weilded by the personal business interests of dominant market incumbents? And you post a crappy 5 paragraph “oh well, its not us” response. Definitely not what the framers had in mind, or even Mr. Reich (The New Property) and those drafting the Admin. Proc. Act.

  2. Dave
    July 15, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    I guess part of confusion might lay in the fact that the link for the CRB is That would obvious lead people to belief its part of the LOC. FYI regarding the increase, my favorite station that broadcasts online is looking at a six figure plus bill due to the new ruling.

  3. Matt Raymond
    July 16, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Wassabi, the Library of Congress is part of the Legislative Branch of government, not the Executive Branch.

    I am the communications director for the Library, so I am just stating the facts, including the fact that many webcasters say the decision will put their future in doubt. However, it is not my place to argue policy here.

  4. Webdesign
    July 18, 2007 at 10:44 am

    I hope that they solve this problem as soon as possible , to many people are affected by it already !

    good luck

  5. Eric
    September 12, 2007 at 10:28 am

    Matt, I would like to hear updates on this. Is there a way to get updates via your RSS feed regarding strictly the copyright news?

  6. Matt Raymond
    September 12, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Eric, if you go to our main RSS page and scroll down, you will see that there are four different Copyright-specific feeds.

    Keep in mind the thrust of this post, though; Copyright and the Copyright Royalty Judges are separate entities, so it is possible that you might not get as much information as you might hope this way. I don’t believe the Judges have set up an RSS feed yet, although the “federal register” feed at the link I just gave might capture some of that.

  7. tvsm22
    February 2, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I don’t see much of a problem, maybe i don’t understand someting

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