Christian Stations Hit with Hefty Streaming Fees: Alliance Defending Freedom Raises Concerns Over Unfair Royalty Board Decisions

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has entered into a legal battle against the Copyright Royalty Board, alleging discriminatory practices in its rate adjustments for music streaming.

ADF claims that the board’s 2021 rate adjustments disproportionately burden religious noncommercial webcasters, imposing significantly higher rates compared to secular NPR stations.

Questionable Justification for Higher Rates

John Bursch, representing ADF, criticized the Copyright Royalty Board for failing to provide adequate justification for the substantial increase in streaming rates imposed on religious broadcasters in 2021.

Bursch highlighted the lack of transparency in the board’s decision-making process, emphasizing that the higher rates were enforced without sufficient rationale or explanation.

Disparities in Fee Structures

The disparity in fee structures mandated by the 2021 rates is evident in the stark contrast between the financial burdens placed on Christian stations and secular NPR stations.

Bursch illustrated this point by comparing the annual fees required for broadcasting Christian content versus those for NPR programming, revealing a significant discrepancy that places undue financial strain on religious broadcasters.

Impact on Religious Stations

The exorbitant streaming fees imposed on religious stations pose a significant challenge, forcing them to limit their audience intentionally to avoid surpassing the threshold and incurring substantial financial liabilities.

This restriction hampers the ability of religious broadcasters to reach a wider audience and fulfill their mission effectively, undermining their religious freedom and autonomy in the digital sphere.

Legal Action and Advocacy

In response to the alleged discrimination and financial hardship faced by Christian broadcasters, the Alliance Defending Freedom has taken proactive measures to challenge the unfair streaming rates.

By advocating for transparency, accountability, and equitable treatment in rate adjustments, ADF seeks to protect the religious freedom and financial viability of Christian broadcasting in the digital age.

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