Amid intense debate and 11th-hour congressional hearings, American webcasters have been spared. As we discussed a few weeks ago, podcasters everywhere united in a day of silence to protest royalty rate hikes that would have crippled Web radio in the United States.
SoundExchange, the performance rights organization that pressured Congress for the rate hikes — and whose site is in desperate need of our services — testified late yesterday that they wouldn’t enforce the new rates, which were to go into effect this Sunday, July 15th, and be retroactive to 2006.
Wired has the scoop:
Going forward without the royalties being collected, SoundExchange and webcasters will negotiate a new royalty rate with Congress looking over their shoulder — “and last but not least, the public looking over Congress’s shoulder.” Alternatively, Congress now has time to consider the Internet Radio Equality Act, which would set webcaster royalties at 7.5 percent of revenue and allow them to continue operating pretty much as they have been.
Either way, this is a big win for webcasters and their listeners. Again, this is a reprieve, and internet radio can’t be considered saved until new rates are set that everyone can live with.