by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 3rd 2008 12:51am
I tend to think the whole concept of compulsory license rates in the music space is rather backwards. There are a bunch of different rates for all different participants, and it's basically the opposite of letting a market work. It's the government setting a handout rate for many different groups who don't want to create their own business model. The whole process serves to significantly hold back a number of new and innovative business models by letting many to rely on the government to effectively set their revenue for them. That said, one of the worst things is that a single decision by whoever sets the royalties can completely change how an industry works with a single vote. Earlier this week, we noted that Apple was threatening to shutter iTunes if the Copyright Royalty Board raised the rates for publishers on downloads. The threat was probably pretty baseless, but apparently it worked. The CRB has kept rates the same, which is going to upset many songwriters and publishers.
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