House Committee Begins Internet Radio Royalty Hearings

The House Small Business Committee is now holding hearings related to internet radio royalty rate increases, a move that follows a concerted Day of Silence by broadcasters.

The darkened broadcasts helped to elevate awareness among both listeners and broader media outlets, despite the absence of a number of key participants.  Now, lawmakers are broadening their interest in the matter, and more actively considering the now-bipartisan Internet Radio Equality Act.  The hearing, “Assessing the Impact of the Copyright Royalty Board Decision to Increase Royalty Rates on Recording Artists and Webcasters,” begins at 10am EST today at 2360 Rayburn on Capitol Hill.

Voices from both sides of the debate will offer testimony.  Rallying on the side of broadcasters will be Bryan Miller, general manager of WOXY.com; artist Joey Allcorn; and Richard Eisworth, chief executive of Cincinnati Public Radio.  On the side of SoundExchange will be Tom Silverman, chairman of Tommy Boy Records; artist Cathy Fink; and Thomas F. Lee, president of the American Federation of Musicians.

Meanwhile, Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) urged lawmakers on Wednesday to accelerate action on the Internet Radio Equality Act ahead a July 15th scheduled rate increase.  In front of fellow House lawmakers, Inslee pointed to an “outrageous decision by a federal agency” and “outrageous increases of 300 to 1200 percent on the copyright fees that internet broadcasters have to pay.”  The Congressman has been rallying an increased number of supporters around the initiative, and pushing for passage.  “The simple fact is if we do not pass this bill, web broadcasters are going to go out of business,” Inslee declared.