As we reported yesterday (here), representatives of small business webcasters and independent musicians traveled to Washington, DC yesterday and visited with nearly two dozen House representatives and staffs. Their ultimate aim: the passage of legislation that not only would lighten Internet radio's sound recording royalty burden, but would encourage American innovation in this sector.
A dozen of these small webcasters visited with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to thank him for his House sponsorship of the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), and the leadership position he is taking.
Chaffetz spent 20 minutes with the group, making a impassioned and compelling case for the importance of Congress passing laws to encourage — and not discourage — American innovation.
The Internet Radio Fairness Act would change the legal standard by which judges determine the statutory rate for streaming radio. The royalty rates for most other, related uses of copyright sound recordings use the standards set in section 801(b) of the Copyright Act. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act made an exception for Internet radio, requiring rates to be set to what the judges felt a hypothetical "willing buyer and willing seller" would agree. The law would bring Internet radio in line with media like cable- and satellite radio, requiring rates to be set along 801(b) guidelines.
The IRFA was introduced into both chambers in the last Congress, and expected to be re-introduced this session.
In addition to webcasting professionals from operations like ShockNet Radio and HD Radio Network, several independent musicians joined the effort: Ivan Trevino of the instrumental rock band Break of Reality (more here), blogger and former member of The Rosenbergs David Fagin (read more from Fagin here), and country artist Bobby Ross.
Yesterday's group also included Liquid Compass CEO Zackary Lewis, Educational Media Foundation (EMF) in-house counsel Brian Gantman, and AccuRadio founder (and RAIN publisher) Kurt Hanson.