Thursday, May 10, 2007

Senate Introduces the Internet Radio Equality Act

Well, the Wizard really has to eat his words this afternoon.

After lambasting Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) just last week, the WIZARD humbly thanks the Senator for his vision and courage in introducing and co-sponsoring (with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)) the Internet Radio Equality Act, the Senate version of the House Bill HR-2060 we've been promoting for the last few weeks.

Kurt Hanson reported just a few hours ago, "Legislation introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KA) today would save Internet radio from a recent royalty hike that threatens to bankrupt the industry."

"The Internet Radio Equality Act would vacate a Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision to increase fees webcasters pay to play music online by a devastating 300 to 1200 %. Companion legislation ( H.R. 2060) introduced in the House of Representatives on April 26th, by Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Don Manzullo (R-IL), has already garnered the support of more than 60 cosponsors."

On a side note, my earlier criticism of Senator Brownback centered on his handling of one question in last week's Republican debate. I still have huge problems with Senator Brownback's denial of the science supporting the Theory of Evolution, but clearly he is no dummy. I'd love to have a real, off -the-record, conversation with the Senator to see why he felt compelled to raise his hand during the Republican debate.

More important to the discussion and issues here, Senator Brownback obviously cares about fairness and about Freedom of Speech and communication. And he has the courage to take on Hollywood.

The issues of fairness here are undeniable. And I have a new appreciate for the Senator.

Kurt Hanson continued in his report, "Statements released today from the offices of the Senators co-sponsoring the bill underscore the urgent need for Congressional intervention to throw out the proposed CRB rates and determine webcaster rates based on a standard similar to the one used for other digital services like satellite radio."

"A joint statement from Senators Brownback and Wyden also emphasized the need to bring the rates down to a level that allows webcasters to continue operating instead of being "driven out of business" by the proposed rates."

“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,” Sen. 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."

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