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Senate passes Webcaster Settlement Act, bill now goes to Bush

Posted on: 10/30/2008

WASHINGTON D.C. – Legislation authorizing SoundExchange to negotiate royalty agreements with webcasters on behalf of copyright owners and performers between now and February 15th has been approved by the U.S. Senate.

The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 (H.R. 7084), passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on Saturday evening, was approved by the Senate yesterday evening and now awaits President Bush’s signature.

According to a press release issued by the advocacy group SaveNetRadio, “The SaveNetRadio campaign and its members thank the original sponsors of the Internet Radio Equality Act, Congressman Jay Inslee, Congressman Donald Manzullo, Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Sam Brownback for their tireless support and leadership for innovators and artists.

“We also thank Chairman Berman, Chairman Conyers, Chairman Leahy, and Ranking Members Smith and Specter for their leadership in support of the Webcaster Settlement Act. Thanks to them and many others in both the House and the Senate, today’s approval of the Webcaster Settlement Act has cleared the way for private negotiations that hopefully will confirm Internet radio’s future.”

RAIN Analysis: Supposedly the SX-DiMA and SX-NPR negotiations are going reasonably well — those parties were happy with a December 15th deadline in the bill. Next up after those will hopefully be the SX-SCW (Small Commercial Webcasters) and SX-NAB negotiations, plus negotiations between SX and college broadcasters and between SX and religious broadcasters.

DAVID OXENFORD WEIGHS IN ON WEBCASTER BILL

Many observers of Congress’ approval of the webcasting bill are declaring the salvation of Pandora and Internet radio. Not so fast says industry attorney David Oxenford. The bill does not set new, affordable royalty rates for webcasters. And the bill does not change the controversial “willing buyer/willing seller” standard on which rates and terms are based. Read David’s full article in his Broadcast Law Blog here.



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