As we reported last week, the major label-backed licensing authority SoundExchange conditioned lower royalty rates for large commercial webcasters on implementing DRM. This issue is proving quite contentious, and it looks like the webcasters have refused the offer -- the LA Times' Jon Healey and Wired's Listening Post have more.
What's at stake here isn't just the implementation of DRM-laden streaming formats like WMA but also whether the RIAA will get to dictate the sorts of technologies that webcasters use in the future. After all, while DRM would certainly frustrate certain tools that allow users to time-shift, it won't make a lick of difference to software like Total Recorder and Audio Hijack that can record sound as it's outputted in unencrypted form to a sound card. You can bank on the RIAA coming back for more restrictions once it gets DRM in the door, as long as it can hold the threat of ridiculous royalty rates over webcasters' heads.