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The Internet Radio Equality Act has just been introduced (in mid-afternoon) by Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA, pictured right) and eight cosponsors, with more cosponsors on the bill expected shortly.
The bill has five major provisions:
* Nullifies the recent decision of the CRB judges
* Changes the royalty rate-setting standard that applies to Internet radio royalty arbitrations in the future so that it is the same standard that applies to satellite radio royalty arbitrations - the 801(b)(1) standard that balances the needs of copyright owners, copyright users, and the public (rather than "willing buyer / willing seller"). (For more detail on this point, read the recent RAIN issue on "Copyright law," here.)
* Instructs future CRBs that the minimum annual royalty per service may be set no higher than $500.
* Establishes a "transitional" royalty rate, until the 2011-15 CRB hearing is held, of either .33 cents per listener hour, or 7.5% of annual revenues, as selected by the provider for that year. Those rates would be applied retroactively to January 1, 2006. (The logic behind this rate, incidentally, is an attempt to match the royalty rate that satellite radio pays for this royalty - thus the name of the bill.)
* Expands the Copyright Act's Section 118 musical work license for noncommercial webcasters to enable noncomms to also perform sound recordings over Internet radio at royalty rates designed for noncommercial entities, and sets an transition royalty at 150% of the royalty amount paid by each webcaster in 2004. (Note that this amount would be a set, flat fee through the end of the decade.)
* For future CRBs (e.g., 2011-15), adds three new reports in the CRB process: The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information will submit a report to the CRB judges on the industry impact in terms of competitiveness of the judges' proposed rates; at the same time, the FCC will submit a report to the CRB judges on the effects of the judges' proposed rates on localism, diversity of programming, and competitive barriers to entry; and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will submit a report to Congress and the CRB judges on the effect of the the judges' proposed rates on their licencees.
Emphasis mine
This is wonderful news folks. But this is no done deal.
U.S. citizens - Your action is needed NOW! Please call your congressperson to ask them to co-sponsor this bill.
Head on over to SaveNetRadio.org for further details.
Inslee says:
"You can't put an economic chokehold on this emerging force of democracy," Inslee said in a statement e-mailed by a spokeswoman. "There has to be a business model that allows creative Webcasters to thrive and the existing rule removes all the oxygen from this space."
Well said sir.

Of the several ways of communication known to man, music is considered artistic and delightful. Listening to music is known to create psychological impact on man and music therapy is a popular treatment in healing stress related disorders. Music is also used my professional's in sports as well as famous people to relieve some stress. Recorded media has gained popularity in the last century with the advent of gramophone, discs and portable tapes. Today, there are several ways to listen to recorded music and digital devices like mp3 players are widely used. Also, mp3 players are being incorporated in cellular phones as functional devices which provide the luxury to access music irrespective of time or location.

An iPod is one of the most popular music players in the world. Designed by Apple Inc, the iPod opened and enlarged the frontiers of compact consumer electronic gadgets. While cellular phones were already being extensively used, there were hardly any music-specific gadgets in the market which prompted the design of the coveted iPod. While generation 1 iPods were simple flash devices that played music on a shuffled list, generation 2 and 3 iPods incorporated additions like display screens and the ability to play video. The latest version, i.e., the iPod Touch is a state of the art real time entertainment system.

An iPod, no matter how simple it seems comes with a set of accessories such as a pair of ear buds, USB support and additions like iTunes to organize music and set up play lists. While these are the basic set of accessories that are provided with the purchased model, the market has an endless list of accessories that can be combined with an iPod for an enhanced musical experience. These accessories include speakers, sound blasters, AC chargers, docks, remotes and other electronic devices to boost the operation of an iPod. One of the extensively used accessories is the iPod radio attachment.

A music player is considered complete only if it has the ability to access radio channels. iPod models like the shuffle and the nano provide excellent mp3 playback but do not have in-built radio receivers. However, the long list of accessories available includes several iPod radio brands that design reliable iPod radios which can be easily attached to any iPod model. These radios are known to have excellent reception considering the fact that they have internal antennae and are designed to be powered by the rechargeable iPod power packs. The radios have built in amplifiers and adjustable volume control which make them a pleasure to use.

The main advantage of using iPod radios is that they are detachable, compact and extremely sleek. These radios weigh nearly as much as the iPod itself and can be carried in a case meant for iPod accessories. Some radios have the facility to be powered by alkaline batteries which comes of use when the iPod's power packs have to be sparingly used. Most radios can be used independently with a set of speakers which is a convenient option for diverse entertainment. More importantly, iPod radios are easy to procure without burning a hole in the wallet which makes them great gifts and useful to own.

Gone are the days when everyone had a transistor radio or even one of those big cassette players or Sony Walkmans strapped to their side. Today everything is being made smaller and smaller. Almost as quickly as you purchase something today they come out with a new and improved smaller version.