Congress is doing some other stuff you may care about
Besides the big financial bailout package, Congress is doing some other things you may be interested in. One of those things is the descriptive and oh so eloquently named Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. The short version this story, is that SoundExchange, a subsidiary of the much-maligned RIAA that collects royalties, decided to double the royalty that Internet radio stations would have to pay to play their music. This would pretty much destroy Internet radio, by either putting all the companies out of business or by forcing them to add so much advertising to their websites that you’d never want to go to them. The deadline for the talks between SoundExchange and the Internet radio companies has been coming up pretty fast and with no compromise in sight, SoundExchange’s new rate (as ratified by the Copyright Royalty Board) would stand.
So to the rescue comes Jay Inslee, Representative from Washington’s 1st District. He introduced said bill and after some wrangling with SoundExchange, the Internet radio broadcasters, and the National Association of Broadcasters (who were worried they were going to get a raw deal), managed to get it passed unanimously by the House. So the bill is now on to the Senate where it also looks likely to pass since no one opposes it. After that it will be on to Bush’s desk where it will hopefully be signed into law. If that all happens (and there’s no reason to think it won’t) then Internet radio will be saved! And there was much rejoicing, yay!