INTERNET RADIO streamcasters in the US caught a crucial break from the US Congress Tuesday when the Senate passed the Webcaster Settlement Act to let them negotiate lower royalties for tunes played over the net.
The bill was passed in the House of Representatives over last weekend, so Tuesday's Senate passage means the legislation will go to the White House, where it's anticipated that current occupant George Dubya will sign it.
The House sponsor, Washington state Democratic Representative Jay Inslee, indicated that the bill was vital to preserve the viability of Internet radio operators.
"This is a truly historic moment for Internet radio and its listeners," the Congressman said in a statement after the House passed the legislation. "There may now be a light at the end of the tunnel in the fight over Internet radio royalties."
US Internet radio webcasters had faced increasingly higher music royalties imposed by the Copyright Royalty Board in March 2007, but as the bill's name suggests, it permits them to reach a negotiated settlement with the MAFIAA's royalty collector Sound Exchange instead.
Many webcasters had forecast that high music royalties would force them out of business. µ
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