Editor’s note: Deborah Proctor is general manager of WCPE in Wake Forest. Known as The Classical Station, WCPE programming is heard over the Internet around the world.

WAKE FOREST, N.C. – On March 2, 2007 the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington made a ruling which will force many smaller public radio stations to consider shutting off their web casting streams, and which will definitely put WCPE into a very difficult, if not impossible, situation. What’s worse, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has denied public broadcasting’s petition for a rehearing on its decision.

We need your help.

All of WCPE’s classical music Internet streams are facing a serious financial and regulatory specter, and the same is true for every public radio station. Public broadcasting has exhausted all appeals to the Copyright Royalty Board’s greatly increased fees and burdensome procedural requirements.

This CRB decision drastically overturns all past precedent. It sets noncommercial educational public radio fees equivalent to for-profit commercial broadcasting fees, and ignores public radio’s mission and our obligations to our listeners. This decision is counter to the core purposes of public radio — diversity, public service, and uniqueness of musical programming.

There is only one way out — Congress has to repair a law.

Congress must correct an error that failed to place all public radio services in Section 118 of the Copyright Act of 1976. Congress crafted Section 118 to properly address the Public Policy benefits of the public radio service. This section has been the balancing standard for commercial copyright holders and non-commercial educational copyright users for the past thirty years.

When public radio streaming was later introduced into copyright legislation in 1998 it should have been under Section 118, but an overnight subcommittee, without any consultation with public radio groups, improperly placed public radio in the wrong section — a section only intended to only addresses buyers and sellers of rights and royalties in the commercial radio arena.

Consequently, the CRB rejected public policy concerns for public radio, saying Congress hadn’t expressed any such concerns because public radio streaming was in the wrong section of the new internet copyright act!

Congress must reaffirm that it is in the public interest for all Americans to be able to hear all public broadcasting signals, regardless of how those signals may happen reach their ears! Congress must place all public radio transmissions under the correct Section of the copyright acts.

Please contact your Congressman in Washington and ask them to support HR-2060 the "Internet Radio Equality Act" by becoming a Co-Sponsor of this bi-partisan corrective legislation. You can click here to see if your Congressman has already signed on to support your right to listen to WCPE on the Internet — and every other public radio internet station as well!

Thank You for taking a stand on this important issue!

PS: It doesn’t matter what public radio station you or your friends listen to – this legislation is important to every single public radio station in the Nation. Please spread the word to all your friends who value the ability to listen to public radio on the Internet — or some voices may be silenced!