Today the otherwise preoccupied Senate quickly passed the Webcaster Settlement Act many of you petitioned for, granting Pandora and other net radio services the right to negotiate royalties with the record industry's SoundExchange coalition for the years 2006 to 2015. OK, that's a mouthful—what it means is, they will likely not be driven to bankruptcy due to unreasonable royalty rates. I say "likely" because they still need to dot i's and cross t's on the royalty deal itself, but here, Congress approved their ability to do that, and just in the nick of time. Pandora chief Tim Westergren told us today: "We’re just hugely grateful to our listeners and everyone who moved so quickly to mobilize support. This last weekend was just extraordinary." There you go, the world itself may be collapsing, but at least you know our legislators listened to your pleas to keep your favorite web radio broadcasters in business.
DiMA Thanks Congress for Passing Webcaster Settlement Act Washington, D.C., September 30, 2008 – The U.S. Senate today approved the Webcaster Settlement Act, and sent to the President this bill that authorizes Internet radio services and agents for copyright owners and performers to negotiate new royalty agreements retroactive to 2006, and that could resolve future disputes through 2015. The House of Representatives passed the bill September 28. Jonathan Potter, Executive Director of the Digital Media Association, offered this statement: “On behalf of DiMA and our Internet radio members, I want to thank Congress for acting quickly to pass the Webcaster Settlement Act. This legislation will enable DiMA and our member companies, and all Internet radio services, to continue negotiating royalty rates with SoundExchange for the years 2006-2015. We are very hopeful of reaching agreement soon, and thereby creating long-term stability that will re-energize the Internet radio business. "We express great thanks to Senators Wyden and Brownback, and Representatives Inslee and Manzullo for sponsoring the Webcaster Settlement Act and also being great leaders of the Internet Radio Equality Act. “We are also grateful to Chairman Berman, Chairman Conyers and Chairman Leahy, and Ranking Members Smith and Specter for their leadership on the Webcaster Settlement Act and their ongoing support for Internet radio."