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House to vote on delaying Web royalties

The House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on legislation that would
postpone royalty payments. Webcasters are required to pay artists and record
companies beginning Oct. 20. House Judiciary Committee chairman James
Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the bill.

Webcast royalties have been controversial since the U.S. Copyright Office's
Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel set rates last year, although the Librarian
of Congress later cut the rate in half.

The Recording Industry Association of America and Webcasters appealed the
rate in court. Currently, Webcasters must pay a 70-cent royalty per song for
every 1,000 listeners.

The RIAA contended that the rate is far too low, while broadcasters and other
Webcasters argued that the rate is so high that their Internet sites will go out of
business. Webcasters have also asked the Library of Congress to delay the
royalty obligations until the court cases are resolved.

On Friday, the RIAA and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
urged the librarian to reject the stay.