In other news, remember the post I wrote about writing your congresscritter about the HR 7084, Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008? Here's what my representative, Anna Eshoo (well, probably one of her staffers) wrote back:
Thank you for writing to me about H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. I voted for and the House passed this bill on September 27, 2008 and it has been sent to the President for his signature.Please write your congresscritter in support of HR 2060!
As you know, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which determines royalty rates for the use of music over Internet radio services, has prevented the growth of this innovative new music platform by assigning a royalty rate that is too high, endangering Internet radio. The Webcaster Settlement Act will allow private parties to agree on a deal to correct the faulty decision of the CRB by clearing a path for private negotiations to continue while Congress is in recess, allowing any and all groups to work out a settlement amongst themselves to replace the astronomically high fees set by the government with fees agreed to by all parties.
You may also be interested to know that I'm a cosponsor of H.R. 2060, the Internet Radio Equality Act. H.R. 2060 would modify royalty fees for webcasting. The Copyright Office Royalty Panel (CARP) recently established high royalty rates for music webcasts.
I'm concerned that the CARP ruling may have the unintended consequence of bankrupting many companies or forcing them to alter their formats to news and talk radio. This, in turn, will reduce the consumer's choice of streaming content, limit the diversity of streaming content on the Internet, and impede the growth of an increasingly popular medium.
On October 7, 2002, an agreement between webcasters and the recording industry was made and the full House passed the bill by voice vote. The change seeks to ensure that artist shares of the royalty payments for streaming digital music over the Internet would not be deducted against recording industry legal and administrative expenses. The agreement between the RIAA and small webcasters permits the small firms to pay a percentage of the revenue instead of the per song rates set by the Library of Congress.
H.R. 2060 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which I'm a member of, and I will continue to do everything I can to see that this important legislation becomes law.