New Internet Radio Royalty Bill Introduced To Congress
September 21, 2012

New bipartisan legislation was introduced to Congress today, which could lower Internet radio royalty rates for music. The Internet Radio Fairness Act (HR 6480) was introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). A companion bill will be introduced in the Senate by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). The legislation would categorize Internet radio under the same standards used to set royalty rates for other digital services such as satellite radio or cable.

"Internet radio should be a boon to the entire audio market – from the creators, to the distributors, and of course to the consumers – but instead it is barely hanging on," Chaffetz said in a statement. "Congress enacted the royalty rate standard for Internet radio 14 years ago, when Internet radio was barely a concept. This bipartisan legislation levels the playing field for Internet radio services by putting them under the same market-based standard used to establish rates for other digital services, including cable and satellite radio. It’s well past time to stop discriminating against Internet radio."

Polis added, "When I was in college, making a mix tape was the height of technology but fans can now legally make their own playlists in the cloud to share and enjoy. Our laws shouldn’t penalize the innovators who made that leap and created jobs by forcing them to pay outrageous royalties that are far greater than their competitors. We should pass the Internet Radio Fairness Act now because it’s what’s right for consumers and our economy."

The NAB has released a statement on the Internet Radio Fairness Act, saying, "NAB appreciates the leadership of Reps. Chaffetz and Polis and Sen. Wyden and strongly supports legislative efforts to establish fair webcast streaming rates. NAB will work with the bill's sponsors and all interested parties to create broadcast radio streaming rates that promote new distribution platforms and new revenue streams that foster the future growth of music."

Clear Channel Media+Entertainment has also released a statement in support of the bill, saying, "We share the view of Representative Chaffetz and Senator Wyden that fundamental aspects of the system governing sound recording licensing royalty rates are out of sync with the realities of the 21st century marketplace and must be fixed. This legislation is an important part of that process.  We believe that the rate setting process and royalty standard for the CRB’s determinations must support rather than stifle the growth of digital music for the benefit of consumers, artists and businesses – helping consumers gain more access to their favorite artists, assisting artists in reaching as many listeners as possible and enabling the digital music industry to flourish with a sustainable business model. We look forward to working with policymakers and business leaders in the coming months to develop the kind of fair music licensing rate setting royalty standard that benefits artists while reflecting both consumer preferences and the business realities of the 21st century."

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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