Congress reluctant to 'save net radio'

Despite a flood of input from voters, calling for Congress to "save net radio" by overturning the new royalty rates imposed by the Copyright Royalties Board, House members evinced substantial reluctance to get involved at a recent committee hearing, reports Ars Technica. In a meeting of the House Committee on Small Business, legislators expressed concern over royalty issues which should have been settled in 2002, when Net radio and the copyright holders hashed out the last deal.

Despite a flood of input from voters, calling for Congress to "save net radio" by overturning the new royalty rates imposed by the Copyright Royalties Board, House members evinced substantial reluctance to get involved at a recent committee hearing, reports Ars Technica.

In a meeting of the House Committee on Small Business, legislators expressed concern over royalty issues which should have been settled in 2002, when Net radio and the copyright holders hashed out the last deal. There is concern that the royalty increase could strain the relationship between the two parties and that legislation won't resolve the problem.

"The decision and the outcry on both sides raises questions and concerns about what is needed to fairly and adequately compensate recording artists and labels" while making it tenable for net radio to stay on the air.

"The parties to the conflict are best suited to devise a remedy that is workable and equitable," said co-chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), but he added that it is "somewhat troubling that we are here revisiting these issues just five years later."

Co-chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) stated that perhaps Congress wasn't necessarily the best venue to resolve this issue, and others encouraged the parties to sit down and talk.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) warned that if there is no resolution by July 15, the new ratesa will lead to a crash in the Net radio market if the situation isn't resolved. In talking with Inslee, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) expressed frustration with the situation.

"My hope is that we won't help one segment of our population at the expense of another," he said. "I'm concerned that we've taken 18,000 pages of testimony, a careful analysis of all of the market factors, and the CRB came up with a decision based on input from so many different interests and stakeholders, and now, five years later, there's a push to just change everything. Something doesn't feel right about it," he said. "I do want to see further justification."

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