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Internet Radio Equality Act

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) submitted the Internet Radio Equality Act to Congress; a bill that aims to protect online radio broadcasters from monumental royalty increases set to commence May 15, which will likely strangle many Internet radio stations into bankruptcy, and ultimately, silence. Launched to support the SaveNetRadio campaign, a group formed to battle the Copyright Royalty Board’s March 2 ruling to nearly triple internet royalty rates, the bill hopes to bring online broadcast payments to a price equal to that of satellite radio services.

“The Internet has provided us with amazing opportunities to enjoy music, and this unfair action by the CRB threatens to take it all away,” Manzullo stated in a press release. “Our legislation overturns the huge rate increases and sets up a system that is fair to Web-casters, Web users, and the artists whose music we all enjoy. And most importantly, it will keep music playing on the Internet.” Meanwhile, bloggers are uniting and rallying across the web, requesting that internet radio listeners support the cause by placing phone calls to local Congress members and ask for their support, or, face the imminent loss of an enjoyed music medium.

Here’s what bloggers are saying about the Internet Radio Equality Act:

“Let’s fix the problem and save Internet radio — and Pandora — from obliteration.” — panzer-pirate,

“This fight for our life is not over, but there has been a marked shift in momentum. Thanks to your efforts, this vital channel for musical diversity has a hope of finally being treated fairly and being allowed to grow and nurture a newly empowered class of independent musicians.” — Tim Westergren,

“Right now I’m listening to AFI’s “Girl’s Not Grey.” Before that I was listening to “Moanin'” by Art Blakey. After I will be listening to “Dreamtime Return” by Steve Roach. By the time I shut off this computer tonight, I’ll have heard everything from Britpop to Punk to Jazz to Classical. All of it brought via the Internet to my ears by — a playlist built by me using their fine interface. There are money-grubbing number crunchers that want the sound of silence to be the only thing you hear online. You can help drive a stake through their black analog-ridden hearts…” — David,

“I am not a teenager but a middle aged professional who spends a significant portion of my disposable income on music. Listening to Internet radio grows my to-buy list faster than my purchasing. The loss of Internet radio will reverse that trend. While I agree they are entitled to sound recording royalties if the music is not played they lose not only sound recording royalties, but royalties from the CDs I won’t hear and thus will not buy.” — Miss Manners,

“Artists need to be paid. I’m not sure how high the royalty rates are, but it seems there can be some agreement made to create royalties which internet broadcasters can afford to pay.” — Josh Hend,

“Let’s hope this bill is passed allowing internet radio to continue as it was before the greedy labels took hold of another U.S. government body.” — BabyGrandMaster,

On the Web:

Talk: What do you listen to on Internet radio?