A ruling on Friday by a committee of the Library of Congress means that KCRW.com and other websites that stream music could have to pay royalties each time a song is played on the Internet. The United States Copyright Royalty Board accepted the position of the RIAA-associated SoundExchange royalty organization and rejected arguments by the International Webcasting Association, Wired News says. Two years in the making, the decision threatens to essentially end Internet radio, say critics. A senior staffer at KCRW tells LA Observed, "Everyone is stunned by the decision. The determination to charge per song/per listener would effectively shut us down, as well as most other music sites. We estimate it could cost us anywhere from $1 to $5 million to keep going."
* New numbers: KCRW now says the hit would be under $200,000 a year for 2006 and 2007, but still substantial.