The Congress on Thursday heard of an unexpected last minute reprieve for Internet radio, so that the drain on corporate bandwidth will continue (if not firewalled out).
Internet radio now pays only songwriting royalties. Sound Exchange convinced the U. S. Copyright Office to cede to it the collection of performance royalties, to make the tax retroactive, and scaling up charges based on the number of listeners. For many months, the fans of Internet radio (e.g., SaveNetRadio.org) made their case on the Web that such charges were onerous and destructive, and they lobbied the Congress for some form of relief from fees said to spell the death of online radio.
At a House hearing about the new destructive rates for online radio, SoundExchange made a dramatic pronouncement. Instead of discussing its plans to collect the new royalty payments next week, its executive director promised before the Representatives that SoundExchange won't enforce the new royalty rates. Webcasters may online as new rates are hammered out.
A royalty opponent told a Wired writer that everyone who called their Congress person about this should feel that they had an effect on the process: "This is a direct result of lobbying pressure, so if anyone thinks their call didn't matter, it did. That's why this is happening."