Friday, July 13, 2007

Small-time Internet radio granted reprieve @ 11th hour

Hopefully the imminent wiping out of small-time Internet radio will be avoided: while Sunday (7/15) is the deadine, with the emphasis on the “dead” part, for payments under the new and preposterous rates, Wired reports Thursday night that SoundExchange told Congress they “will not enforce the new royalty rates.”

“Webcasters will stay online, as new rates are hammered out,” Eliot Van Buskirk writes, while concluding the “news qualifies as a reprieve, but internet radio won't be truly saved until negotiations result in a workable royalty rate.”
Earlier (with the RAIN newsletter quoting the Hollywood Reporter), the House Commerce Committee formally called on the webcast and recording industries to meet “to discuss a settlement “that would provide Internet radio operators with a workable alternative to the proposed CRB rates scheduled to go into effect Sunday,” July 15th. Encouragingly, the Reporter reports that “the Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over the Internet.”

RAIN credits Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Commerce Committee's Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee. He “actively voiced concerns in Congress regarding the CRB's disastrous effects on the webcast industry,” calling Copyright Review Board’s damning decision “"a body blow to many nascent Internet radio broadcasters.”

I know from having lived in the Boston area for the last 10 years that Ed Markey is a Good Guy, a genuine champion for fairness and people’s rights. He’s been crusading for privacy rights for a long time, which is pretty forward-thinking.

Isn’t it unfortunate that these kinds of concerns seem “forward” thinking? Those are just the kind of conditions that you need laws for, you see; so this makes him a good “lawmaker.”

Ed Markey has “global warming” in his meta-tags, for cryin' out loud, and a YouTube video of him applauding “the expected passage of legislation that will make the most sweeping safety and regulatory changes to the Food and Drug Administration in years,” including a bill he helped write “to establish public databases of clinical trials and their results.” Need I say more?

Let’s hope he can work something out that’ll allow Web radio’s Lone Rangers, duos and other small partnerships a level playing field and a fair shot at a loyal following.

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