Web Radio Law Changes Introduced
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In a last-ditch effort to protect smaller Webcasters from what they describe as unfair royalty obligations, three influential U.S Congressmen on Friday introduced the "Internet Radio Fairness Act," a new law seeking to change existing Web radio laws.
Carrying through with a promise to introduce legislation that would essentially codify "fair use" provisions of copyright law, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) joined with Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA), George Nethercutt (R-WA) to introduce the new legislation.
The bill is designed to make the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Process (CARP) "more fair for smaller entities," the Congressmen said in an announcement that the Bill would go before the House of Representatives' Judiciary and Small Business Committees.
The three have been among the most vocal critics of the controversial CARP royalty rate structure that sets the per-performance fee at 0.07 cents per performance, retroactive to October 1998.
"Changing the standard for setting royalty rates is crucial to the survival of this innovative sector. We seek a balance between just compensation and Internet development. This process must be fair but not free," he argued.
Rep. Nethercutt joined in blasting the CARP ruling which was effectively forcing smaller Webcasters out of business. "No one wins under the current CARP standard -- Webcasters will close shop, consumers lose access to a wide selection of programming, and copyright holders collect nothing," Nethercutt said. "Our legislation protects small businesses from the onerous CARP ruling, ensuring the continuation of Webcasting, and incidentally, creating a long-term revenue stream for copyright holders."
Rep. Boucher described the law that produced the royalty rate "flawed" and said the Bill would seek to fix the process that he said was weighed heavily against the Internet radio industry.
Highlights of the "Internet Radio Fairness Act" include: