Reading between the lines…

Monday’s SoundExchange offer to small webcasters to reauthorize the rates and terms of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002 (with some unspecified modifications) was, according to the press release, supposedly spurred by a letter from Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA, right) and Howard Coble (R-NC, left), the Chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property (See RAIN coverage here).

Copies of the Berman-Coble letter, apparently released by SoundExchange to various journalists earlier this week and subsequently obtained by RAIN, are surprisingly interesting.

Specifically, of the five-page document, almost four pages are devoted to a defense of the CRB decision! And a careful read of the document reveals that most of the Berman-Coble letter’s language almost precisely mimics the verbiage employed by the recording industry — i.e., on the SoundExchange website and in various other SoundExchange press releases.

In other words, the Berman-Coble letter, oddly enough, primarily argues to SoundExchange SoundExchange’s own precise arguments!

The letter also includes a previously-unannounced request by Berman and Coble for SoundExchange to achieve”resolution”… “no later than June 15, 2007” and notes that the writers “plan to advance legislation if we determine that it is the public interest.”

A copy of the Berman-Coble letter in .pdf form is available here.

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