Proposed law may save net radio

Written by Brett Thomas

April 30, 2007 // 8:59 a.m.

Tags: #congress #internet-radio #riaa

The fate of Internet radio has been getting a lot of press lately. If you've somehow missed the news, some clever price hikes by the RIAA are set to go into effect in mid-May. These hikes could have a couple of motivations, but one thing is for sure -- they are designed to bankrupt the nascent industry.

Or, maybe not, thanks to the US Congress. Who said politicians never listen?

The US House of Representatives received a proposed bill on Thursday afternoon that would block the new hikes. Tentatively dubbed the Internet Radio Equality Act, the bill's sole purpose is to intervene in the Copyright Royalty Board's recent decision to approve the tremendous increases. It replaces the outrageous increases with a flat 7.5% of profits, similar to the current model.

The bill was sponsored by one Republican and one Democrat, and has already received some pretty overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. "The Internet has provided us with amazing opportunities to enjoy music, and this unfair action by the CRB threatens to take it all away," said Robert Mazullo, one of the bill's sponsors. "Our legislation overturns the huge rate increases and sets up a system that is fair to Web-casters, Web users and the artists whose music we all enjoy. And most importantly, it will keep music playing on the Internet."

Before the bill can be made into a law and effectively block the increase, it will need to pass both the House and the Senate, and then signed by the President. Whether the bill will have enough time to complete its path before May 15th could mean the difference between success and failure.

Though the RIAA is a US organization, it has a lot of political ties that can easily expand borders and the copyright rules proposed will affect all stations. Those who refuse to pay the increase may not be subject to immediate reprisal if they aren't in the US, but pressure in the right places governmentally could easily change the rules of the game. Hopefully, the bill will prevent this from ever being possible.

Do you have a thought on the proposal? Tell us about it in our forums.

WEEK IN REVIEW

TOP STORIES

SUGGESTED FOR YOU