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RAIN 01/12: Net radio ally Boucher named chair of House Internet subccommittee

Posted on: 01/12/2009


Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) has gained the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Boucher has long been working on digital rights issues, being one the first and most vocal allies of Internet radio.

In 2002, Boucher co-introduced the Internet Radio Fairness Act (H.R. 5285), which would have changed the wecbaster royalty rate standard from “willing-buyer/willing-seller” to the “traditional” standard enacted by the 1976 Copyright Act, and would have exempted small commercial webcasters from the Library of Congress’ fees (RAIN coverage here). More recently, Boucher was a co-sponsor of the Internet Radio Equality Act (H.R. 2060) which would have nullified the CRB-set royalty rates (RAIN coverage here). He is a supporter of net neutrality and has opposed efforts by the entertainment industry to restrict the Internet.

Boucher takes over the subcommittee from Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), “considered one of the most pro-privacy lawmakers on the Hill,” who will move to the Energy and the Environment subcommittee. For more, read Media Post’s coverage here.


MOG’s new free on-demand music streamer, which TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington calls the “ultimate streaming app,” may not launch thanks to stalled deals with Warner and EMI. The new player, internally dubbed MOG 3.0, combines free on-demand streaming with Pandora-like music recommendation. MOG has said the player will not launch without all four major labels under agreement. Sony BMG and Universal have already agreed to provide streaming music rights for free in exchange for a share of MOG’s revenue, but EMI and Warner “remain on the sidelines.” For more, read Arrington’s rave review at TechCrunch here.


As CES closes, the in-dash car Internet radio receiver from Blauplunkt and miRoamer has received a hefty amount of praise, from CNET to AutoBlog. “This is a real threat to traditional broadcast sources, but might also be the saving force for an industry,” wrote Paul Wallis at the Digital Journal (here). “Internet radio has been a quiet achiever, but a very positive survival mode for radio…This is a potentially huge revenue market.”

The UK’s Electric Pig proclaimed (here), “DAB is dead. It’s about to be crushed by Internet radio.” The player was picked by DVICE’s Leslie Shapiro as her top device of CES. She writes (here), “While Internet radio in the car is a nice step forward, when will Slacker and Pandora be available, with the custom stations I created, right from the head unit in a car? As satellite radio dies a slow, painful death, Internet radio should be poised to jump in.”

The Blauplunkt miRoamer receiver will reportedly be available in the second half of 2009 for $399. Internet radio is streamed through a Bluetooth connection with a Internet-connected mobile device, but some sources report there will be a monthly subscription fee of about $15 to access the stations. CNET was told by MiRoamer CEO George Parthimosthat that, “talks to have the system pre-installed on high-end vehicles such as Lexus and BMW are currently underway,” (more here). Read our previous coverage in RAIN here.

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