house approves internet radio bill
The House of Representatives approved a royalty deal between record labels and smaller Webcasters after last-minute negotiations paid off in the dropping of a controversial last-minute provision that didn't guarantee direct payments to artists .
The deal hammered out by House Judiciary Committee Chair James Senenbrenner (R-Wis) would allow smaller Internet radio stations such to pay a percentage of their revenues to the musicians and record labels whose songs they play, rather than a flat per-song rate set in June by the Library of Congress. Webcasters maintained that the rate established in June would be ruinously expensive and unfair, as over-the-air radio stations were exempted based on notions of their "promotional" value.
Under the terms of the deal, small Webcasters would pay 8 percent of their revenues for broadcasts between 1998 and the end of 2002, increasing to 10 percent over the next two years, or 12 percent if the station's revenues exceeded $250,000.
Alternatively, Webcasters would pay 5 percent of their expenses for the 1998-2002 period and 7 percent over the next two years, if that amount was greater.
The deal only applies to Webcasters who will have taken in less than $1 million in total from 1998 until the end of this year. The revenue cap increases to $500,000 in 2003 and $1.25 million in 2004.
Regular readers will note that I often crtiticize Republican policies, but m4d props to Chairman Senenbrenner for forging what appears to be a deal that's acceptable to all sides. The bill is expected to have the support of the Senate, although a limited timetable may pose yet another obstacle.