A pair of bills dubbed the Internet Radio Fairness Act has the recording industry and Internet radio providers duking it out on the Hill, and forces on both sides of the fight are gearing up for today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.
Proponents and opponents of the bill have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars this year lobbying on the issue.
The House bill, introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, would direct the Copyright Royalty Board to set rates for Internet radio using the same standard it applies to satellite and digital radio providers.
Pandora, who is leading the push for the bills, is joined by a coalition that includes major broadcasters. The coalition added eight new members on Tuesday, including other Internet radio providers: HD103.com, Musera Radio, Pearadio, Senzari, Digital Sound & Video, Mark Ramsey Media, Triton Digital and TruLocal Media.
The group, dubbed the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition, also has the support of Americans for Limited Government. Group president Bill Wilson penned a column in support of the act last week, writing that although not perfect, it would help “end unfair, anti-competitive royalty rate discrimination.”
On the other end of the fight is the recording industry, which has its MusicFIRST coalition lobbying against the bill, with support from groups such as the AFL-CIO.
As with most Hill music fights, musicians will be trotted out to make their case. Testifying against the House bill today will be Grammy-award winning producer Jimmy Jam, who you can thank for songs such as New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain”, Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” and Usher’s “U Remind Me.” He's one of a group of other musicians, including Esperanza Spalding and Natalie Cole, who wrote an open letter to Congress against the act.
In favor of the bill is independent musician Patrick Laird of Break of Reality, who delivered a letter Tuesday to the House Judiciary Committee members in support of the Internet Radio Fairness Act.