WEBCASTER SETTLEMENT ACT OF 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 28, 2008)
* Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008, and want to thank the gentleman from Washington for his leadership in bringing this resolution to the floor.
* H.R. 7084 is a simple yet critical legislative solution that allows private sector actors to keep a negotiating process alive. Why? Because Internet radio royalties operate under a government license, and Congressional approval is necessary to allow a private sector agreement to effectuate outside the government process.
* This is a good thing. After all, if I have a choice between a government mandated solution and a private sector agreement, I will take the private sector agreement almost every time.
* The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 guarantees that our nation's performing artists, musicians, record labels and webcasters can continue copyright negotiations that are making slow but steady progress. And a resolution to the issue is critical, so Internet radio listeners can keep on listening and the people performing those songs can be properly compensated.
* The Copyright Royalty Board is small government body tasked with determining royalty rates for the use of music over Internet radio. It is obscure to some, but its decisions are critical to my constituents in Tennessee and Internet radio users across the country. Unfortunately, this body was tasked with the authority to adjudicate a rate structure at the direction of Congress back in 2004. This proved to be unwise, since the Board's decision announced in March of 2007 sparked a lengthy lobbying battle and an acrimonious relationship between two important members of the music industry's family; the copyright holder and the copyright deliverer.
* We now understand that the parties are gradually coming together, and growing closer to finding common ground. Congress should do everything in its power to ensure the negotiations continue, and H.R. 7084 is the vehicle to guarantee the talks will continue.
* I urge my colleagues to support it, and yield the balance of my time.