'Internet Radio Equality Act' Introduced In Senate
May 10, 2007 at 2:58 PM (PT)
As expected, Sens. RON WYDEN (D-OR) and SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS) today introduced the "Internet Radio Equality Act," which would vacate the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD (CRB) decision to increase fees webcasters pay to play music online. Similar legislation was introduced in the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES on APRIL 26 by Reps. JAY INSLEE (D-WA) and DON MANZULLO (R-IL) (NET NEWS 4/26).
The Internet Radio Equality Act would set a 2006-2010 royalty rate at the same level currently paid by satellite radio services (7.5% of revenue). The bill would also change the royalty rate-setting standard used in royalty arbitrations, so that the standards applying to webcasters would align with the standard that applies to satellite radio royalty arbitrations. The bill also resets the royalty
rules for noncommercial radio such as NPR stations that offer Internet radio music.
The Internet Radio Equality Act strikes the appropriate balance between compensating artists for their work and allowing this industry to grow.
SAVENETRADIO.org applauded the bill's introduction, expressing their gratitude to WYDEN and BROWNBACK. "Since the CRB's ruling, Internet radio listeners, webcasters and the artists they promote have joined together to urge CONGRESS to prevent this vibrant industry from going silent on JULY 15," said SAVENETRADIO spokesman JAKE WARD. "On behalf of Internet radio's 70 million monthly listeners, thousands of webcasters, and the incredible diversity of talented artists it supports, we commend Sens. WYDEN and BROWNBACK for their understanding of Internet radio's importance and for their leadership in taking the steps needed to save it."
THE ROOTS MUSIC ASSOCIATION, an international organization representing more than 2,200 independent artists and labels, said, "We are very pleased by the introduction of the Internet Radio Equality Act in the Senate today. Internet radio has become the lifeblood for so many independent artists that depend on the promotional accessibility it provides niche roots-based genres. This legislative solution is the last best hope for the future of Internet radio, and we fully support it."
PANDORA founder TIM WESTERGREN also commended the legislation: "We are grateful for Sens. WYDEN and BROWNBACK's introduction of the Internet Radio Equality Act. Their support shows an understanding of the invaluable exposure that Internet radio provides to emerging artists, as well as an acknowledgment of the diverse listening experience it offers to music lovers. We are hopeful that, with the senators' support, this promising industry will finally be treated fairly so that it can continue to grow."
YAHOO! MUSIC VP/GM IAN ROGERS said, "Internet radio has empowered and benefited artists and music lovers alike by removing the physical limitations and barriers that once separated musicians from their fans. The recent royalty rate increase threatens to limit the potential of Net radio as an outlet for musicians, option for music lovers, and a business for webcasters. The Internet Radio Equality Act strikes the appropriate balance between compensating artists for their work and allowing this industry to grow. We applaud Sens. WYDEN and BROWNBACK for their leadership and urge congress to take notice and action."
And COLLEGE BROADCASTERS INC. Chair RON BLAND said, "The Internet Radio Equality Act of 2007 is desperately needed by educational stations. Without it, the educational opportunities afforded to colleges and universities through educational stations under the previously negotiated settlement would be lost. The increased fees set by the CRB would stifle a large number of educational opportunities for students, academic departments and co-curricular activities across the nation."