Rep. Markey takes reins on Net radio negotiations

From “Not long after a panel of copyright judges decided in March to hike music royalty fees for Internet radio stations, small webcasters began a lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill, saying their business model was in danger.

“The campaign only recently paid dividends: The new fees technically went into effect July 15, but most webcasters are still playing songs — and still paying the older, much lower rates — in part because of efforts by Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.

“Markey brought webcasters and representatives of the music industry together in last-ditch talks late last week…

“Copyright issues are not under Markey’s jurisdiction as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. But Jessica Schafer, his spokeswoman, said Markey decided to host the Web radio negotiations because ‘he does have jurisdiction over the Internet, and he has a longstanding interest in the issue.’

“If anything, Markey has spent much of the past year positioning himself as a key player on emerging technology issues. Schafer said Markey has not taken a side in the negotiations but rather is interested in helping the parties find their own solution…

“While webcasters have been granted what appears to be a temporary reprieve from the new rates, any decisions overseen by Markey would still have to be submitted to the Copyright Royalty Board for its review or be enacted by Congress.

“SoundExchange plans to remand any final deals to the board for it to implement, [spokesperson Richard Ades] said. But many smaller webcasters want a new law in place so that they have more certainty about their legal responsibilities…

“Christine Hanson, [Rep. Jay Inslee’s] spokeswoman, said he prefers negotiating to legislating. ‘Simply because of the time involved, it just would be a lot faster,’ Hanson said. ‘But for Jay (pictured above right), the number one thing is reaching an agreeable solution to both sides, where artists feel like they’re being compensated fairly and webcasters can have a sustainable economic model.’”

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One Response to “Rep. Markey takes reins on Net radio negotiations”

  1. That’s RIGHT. Massachusetts, saving the day again! (Or at least trying…)

    P.S. Go Red Sox!

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