U.S. Senate Passes Webcaster Act

The U.S. Senate passed the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008, sending it to President Bush’s desk for signature two days after the U.S. House of Representatives okayed the bill.
The bill allows for SoundExchange, on behalf of copyright owners and performers, to negotiate with Internet radio services through 2015, an alternative royalty agreement while Congress is in recess.

The negotiations are aimed at setting aside a 2007 decision by the Copyright Royalty Board that set a royalty rate that Internet radio participants said would endanger the fiscal health of webcasting. If the President signs the bill and new royalty agreements are reached, it would set a royalty rate retroactive to 2006, and allow for a framework that could resolve future disputes through 2015, according to an announcement by the Digital Media Association (DiMA).