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US appeals court knocks back CRB’s songwriter royalty rates

When Amazon, Google, Pandora and Spotify appealed against new, higher songwriter royalty rates set by the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), it sparked fury in the publishing community. Get set for another outbreak: the US Court of Appeals in D.C. has reportedly knocked back the rates, backing the DSPs’ argument.

It’s not a ruling on the rates themselves, but rather on the procedure used to arrive at them, with the main bone of contention being the CRB’s method of taking parts from different experts’ models for how the rates should be set, which the DSPs argued had “incompatible structures, made different assumptions, and used entirely different data inputs”.

The appeals court’s ruling hasn’t yet been ‘unsealed’ (made public) but Billboard reported that it has backed the DSPs.