The long-term argument between Radio SWH and Copyright and Communication Consulting Agency/Latvian Authors Association (AKKA/LAA) regarding the calculation of author royalties will continue at Riga Suburb Vidzeme District Court on August 29.
In spite of the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision that Radio SWH is to pay AKKA/LAA royalties in the amount of 2% of radio’s revenue, AKKA/LAA disagrees with this decision, asking for 3.35% of the radio’s total revenue.
«The last several years have been difficult for media business – I can say that we started recovering from the largest advertisement market fall I history in 2011. At the same time, most radio organizations, including Radio SWH, are still struggling to balance income with expenses. With that, any unjustified expenses positions only create further threats for the existence of this media,»- says Chairman of Radio SWH Janis Sipkevics.
Currently, Radio SWH has paid AKKA/LAA royalties in accordance with the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision for the period before 2011 (inclusive). The radio station also sent an official letter to AKKA/LAA to reach an agreement about a bilaterally beneficial solution about gradually paying this year’s royalties from Radio SWH and SPIN FM.
Meanwhile, AKKA/LAA has turned to the court with a plea to prohibit Radio SWH to play music until the case has been reviewed in detail. At the same time, musicians voice doubts about the current order of calculating royalties more and more often, Radio SWH reports.
AKKA/LAA turns away from its own principles in calculating royalties. Firstly, SPIN FM is requested to pay interests from its revenue and a minimum monthly amount, which, in total, forms 30% of the radio’s this year’s projected revenue. Secondly, the association publicly states fixed amounts per day or month, even though it is a clear contradiction with AKKA/LAA’s statement that the same calculation method is used for all radio organizations, Radio SWH reports.
«We want to support Latvian authors and performers and perform all necessary payment. IN the end, there would not be any content for radio stations to broadcast without them. However, we also want royalties to be proportional and justified, so that it does not threaten the media’s development opportunities. It is worth remembering that we need to pay royalties to the Latvian Performers and Producers Association in the amount of 1.6% from our turnover. If we are also obligated to pay the AKKA/LAA the requested 3.35%, it turns out that we need to pay nearly 5% of our turnover to different organizations, which makes a notable sum we cannot afford,»- Sipkevics explains.
Meanwhile, AKKA/LAA reminds that radio stations earn listeners thanks to authors that produce songs, but Radio SWH has been paying an unacceptably low amount of royalties for the last five years. AKKA/LAA explains – the more popular a radio station is, the more advertisers there is. Advertisement time earns money with a certain interest being transferred to authors for their work. AKKA/LAA believes that it employs equal tariffs for all radio stations, LETA reports.
Also, the AKKA/LAA points that Radio SWH group radio stations have not paid a santim to authors of the music they broadcast this year. SPIN FM is not paying royalties since November 2011.
It should be noted that the case will not be reviewed in detail until Radio SWH agrees to sign AKKA/LAA’s license agreement. Until then AKKA/LAA proposes issuing a temporary security measure that would prohibit Radio SWH to broadcast music.