Intercollegiate Broadcasting v. CRB, No. 14-1068 (D.C. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
IBS, a nonprofit association representing college and high school radio stations, appealed the determination by the Copyright Royalty Board setting royalty rates for webcasting. The court rejected IBS's contention that the Board’s determination violated the Appointments Clause because it was tainted by the previous Board’s decision. The court concluded that the Judges’ determination was an independent, de novo decision by a properly appointed panel seized with the full authority of the prior Board. This court has twice before considered the validity of decisions made after the replacement of an improperly appointed official and both cases support the validity of a subsequent determination when -- as here -- a properly appointed official has the power to conduct an independent evaluation of the merits and does so. Because neither this court’s vacatur order nor any statute bars the procedural approach the Board took on remand, the court rejected Intercollegiate’s claim that the Board’s approach contravened the court's order. The court also rejected IBS's challenge to the Board's determination on the merits because the Board's imposition of a $500 annual minimum fee for all noncommercial webcasters was not arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law. The court concluded that substantial evidence supports the Board's conclusion and the Board acted reasonably in setting the fee. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.