Rights in the Digital Age


As I write this post, the US House Judiciary Committee on Intellectual Property is conducting a hearing on the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA). You may have read some of the very high-profile artists who have come out publicly in opposition. This new policy does not set or change any royalty rates for Internet radio; instead it modernizes the structure for rate-setting in a more viable way, allowing Internet protocol digital music distribution models to continue in the future.


The IRFA will simply move streaming services such as the popular ClearOne ANTHOLOGYTM  Pandora to the more-traditional “801(b)” rate-setting standard, which provides a balance of the interests of the copyright owners, the copyright users and the general public. The 801(b) standard has been used successfully for several decades, covering other forms of digital radio such as satellite radio, cable radio, and even many record labels.


The US Congress typically instructs the copyright office to use a standard set of four criteria to determine a fair royalty rate for digital radio:


  1. Maximize the availability of creative works to the public.
  2. Insure a fair return for copyright owners and a fair income for copyright users.
  3. Reflect relative roles of capital investment, cost, and risk.
  4. Minimize the disruptive impact on the industries involved.


The current royalty-rate setting standards for digital radio are confusing and directly related to piecemeal legislation enacted with each newly invented technology. This ad-hoc approach has resulted in costing models that are completely out-of-sync with today’s digital market realities.


ClearOne firmly believes in digital rights and that all copyright owners should be fairly compensated, as this expands the streaming industry and provides a variety of choices in content provided to our customers. We believe that passage of the IRFA would foster innovation in the streaming industry and should be supported. The growth of Internet radio will benefit ANTHOLOGY consumers, the musicians and copyright holders and will pay many dividends for distribution technologies such as StreamNetTM.


With ANTHOLOGY you can enjoy setting up your own Internet radio services with our Pandora service or enjoy over 130 channels of music, sports, news and talk with over 100 commercial-free music options from our Sirius XM radio service. And with the built-in, one-Terabyte storage you can also stream all your iTunes content over your standard Internet Protocol local area network.


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