Webcasters hope for progress on Net radio bill

We haven't heard much about saving net radio lately, but webcasters are hoping that will change with a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Thursday on that issue, among several other issues around net and terrestrial radio, The Washington Post reports."We made a royalty rate proposal on Aug.

We haven't heard much about saving net radio lately, but webcasters are hoping that will change with a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Thursday on that issue, among several other issues around net and terrestrial radio, The Washington Post reports.

"We made a royalty rate proposal on Aug. 23, and we have not heard a reply back," said Jonathan Potter, executive director of the Digital Media Association, which is negotiating on behalf of a group of 27 large Internet radio providers. "With this hearing we're now working to gather support for the Internet Radio Equality Act."

But while the webcasters have made progress on the bill in the House, with 143 sponsors, the Senate version of the bill has only five.

SoundExchange - the organization that collects royalties on behalf of artists and distributes them to copyright holders (read record companies) - has proposed a fee schedule lower than the one the Copyright Royalty Board's. The proposed rate would apply to small webcasters, with revenue of less than $1.25 million in revenues. SoundExchange spokesman Richard Ades said about 30 companies have accepted the offer.

"We're moving as fast as we can considering there are so many parties involved," he said.

Webcasters say they should pay the same low rates as terrestrial radio.

"We are in a strange situation of offering services that compete directly with terrestrial and satellite radio but have a different rate structure," said Tim Westergren, chief strategy officer and founder of Pandora. "There needs to be parity if we are going to survive."

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