Internet audio streamer Pandora thinks it is finally getting close to a deal with SoundExchange and RIAA that will allow the fledgling medium to move profitably forward. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and other members from both parties in the House have passed a bill — H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 — which would allow negotiations to continue. According to Pandora, these negotiations are starting to bear fruit but time is still needed. The measure is headed for the Senate, and Pandora’s Tim Westergren thinks it may receive a rapid rubber stamp today as Congress gets set to close up shop to go home to campaign. Inslee claimed the bill doesn’t do much of anything other than keep negotiations alive through the end of the year.
Describing the bill, Inslee said, “This bill does not affect the scope of performance rights or any underlying copyright law, and it does not impact broadcasters. This bill simply authorizes SoundExchange, on behalf of copyright owners and performers, to negotiate an alternative royalty agreement before the end of the year with any Internet radio service. It will benefit all webcasters, including NPR, college webcasters, small webcasters and broadcasters who put their stations on the Internet. Because Internet radio royalties operate under a government license, Congressional authority is required to allow any negotiated settlement to take effect.