Many internet radio fans woke up this morning to an email from Pandora founder Tim Westergren. The email urged fans of Internet radio to call their representatives to pass bill H.R. 7084, The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. Despite intensive lobbying on the part of broadcast radio to kill the bill, a last-minute deal got the bill passed before today’s House session concluded. It’s off to the Senate now for approval.
While the bill was certainly necessary to keep Internet radio alive, Pandora and its fellow webcasters still have a long way to go before coming up with an acceptable royalty plan. The bill authorizes SoundExchange to negotiate an alternative to the draconian standards put in place for Internet Radio in May 2007. The broadcasters’ lobbying did result in delaying the law from taking effect until February 15, as opposed to December 15.
The Senate has only a limited number of dates left before their scheduled adjournment to pass the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. However, due to the current economic climate, that adjournment may be delayed for much bigger causes than Internet radio.