Sunday, April 29, 2007

Congress Moves to Save Internet Radio!

Broadclip's General Counsel, Matthew Drake, gives us an update about Congress and the future of Internet radio....

Good news! Rep. Jay Inslee (D. Wa) has introduced the Internet Radio Equality Act to allow internet radio stations the opportunity to be successful.

First, the bill expressly nullifies the CRB’s March 2 ruling. This alone is a good start.

Next, the bill pegs the royalty rates paid by internet radio stations at 7.5% of their revenue. This number would apply to all commercial stations large and small. (Different rules would apply for noncommercial stations, such as NPR.) The Copyright Royalty Judges would have the authority to impose a minimum annual fee, which could by no more than $500 per year per “provider of services”. This is an extremely significant improvement over the CRB’s ruling, which would have imposed a $500 fee per stream.

The bill would apply from January 1, 2006 to January 1, 2011.

This bill is a step in the right direction. If it passes Congress, Internet radio will be protected and will be allowed to flourish.

Interestingly, the proposed royalty rate, 7.5% of revenue, is the same as paid by satellite radio stations. This also makes sense. Internet radio and satellite radio are competing in the same market of listeners. It’s logical that they should pay the same license fees to the music companies. Internet radio and satellite radio should be on the same level playing field, so the public will be able to decide what kind of service is best.

You should continue to send emails and telephone members of Congress. This Act has been introduced, but that is just the start of the process. Let your Representative and Senators know just how important this issue is to you!

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