Washington, DC (May 11, 2007)–U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) have proposed legislation to keep internet radio alive by vacating a Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision that could increase internet radio sound recording royalties by 300 percent to 1,200 percent.
Wyden’s and Brownback’s bill will be the Senate companion to H.R. 2060, the Internet Radio Equality Act, introduced April 23 by U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL).
According to an Arbitron and Edison Media Research, 52 million people listened to internet radio at least once a month in 2006. Bridge Ratings and Research predicts that number will double within three years and reach nearly 200 million by 2020.
Currently, terrestrial radio stations only pay royalties to songwriters. Internet radio and satellite radio pay royalties to both songwriters and record companies/recording artists. However satellite radio only pays royalties of 7.5 percent of their revenue. The Internet Radio Equality Act of 2007 corrects the enormous disparity created by the CRB by putting Internet radio on par with satellite radio. Additionally, the legislation would create special royalty rules for the webcasting arms of non-commercial broadcasters like National Public Radio and college radio to ensure they are not left out of reaching new listeners on the internet.
“Our bill is about standing up for folks ranging from a small webcaster in a basement in Corvallis to an innovative startup in Beaverton to a new band trying to be heard in Portland to a huge music fan in Coos Bay,” Wyden said. “Keeping internet radio alive is part of a broader issue that is important to me–keeping the e-commerce engine running by preventing discrimination against it.”
“I am alarmed by the recent Copyright Royalty Board decision and the effect it will have on internet radio–especially small webcasters with limited revenue streams. I am hopeful that with this bipartisan legislation Internet radio will continue to flourish,” said Brownback, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Sam Brownback
Senator Ron Wyden