Will Congress save internet radio?

U.S. CongressWe’ve talked at length on Bluegrass Today about the new CRB ruling that will increase the royalty rates for internet radio later this month. Now it seems that Congress has decided to get involved.

Late last month a bill was introduced into the House or Representatives by Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL). The bill is called The Internet Radio Equality Act (H.R. 2060), and would effectively reverse the CRB ruling.

According to the DiMA website, here is exactly what the bill would do:

The Internet Radio Equality Act would:

  1. Annul the CRB decision and set royalty rates at 7.5% of revenues – the same rate that satellite radio pays – for 2006-2010
  2. Change the rate-setting standard currently used by the CRB to determine Internet radio royalties, and substitute the standard that applies to most other statutory licenses, including satellite radio, jukeboxes and sound recordings

H.R. 2060 has gained the support of 63 cosponsors at this point, which is good support. The question is, will Congress be able to act quickly enough to save internet radio from the July 15th deadline? (The CRB ruling was published in the Federal register on May 1, 2007 and takes effect 45 days after the end of the publication month.)

The executive director of DiMA, Jonathan Potter, is hopeful that they will.

The Internet Radio Equality Act sets a new standard for setting royalty rates that will level the playing field for Internet radio, avoid unfair bankruptcies that eliminate royalties currently being paid to recording artists and record companies, and removes the unfair advantage enjoyed by our competitors in the satellite radio community…

We are hopeful that Congress will move forward quickly to enact this groundbreaking legislation – and offer a lifeline to the industry.

Today the Senate introduces it’s counterpart to H.R. 2060. The bill is currently in committee in the House. It would have to be passed to the floor for debate, voted on, reconciled with the Senate bill, and then passed on to the President for signing before becoming law. You can keep an eye on it’s progress here and voice your opinion by contacting your Congressman here.