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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

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August 9, 2007

Don't Mess with My Negotiations... Pretty Please?

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Remember when I commented that I expected to hear from Markey on the SoundExchange-Webcaster royalty negotiations? Well, he doesn't appear to be issuing official statements right now, but the two senators who introduced the Internet Radio Equality Act have had some words on the matter.

Specifically, Senators Brownback and Wyden said

[W]e will not allow the minimum fee issue to be used to force an agreement that mandates DRM technology and fails to respect the established principles of fair use and consumer rights.

Laudable sentiments, though it's unclear to me how exactly they plan to not allow such a thing.

In particular, WIRED's Eliot Van Buskirk is reporting that Brownback and Wyden's bill is effectively dead in the House. Even if it passed the Senate, the lack of companion House support would make the issue moot. This means SoundExchange is effectively free to do as it pleases, which may be why negotiations are dragging on. There's no incentive to settle, nor to give up the prize of killing off small independent Web radio, which has this annoying habit of playing non-Cartel music on over half its streams (see Eric Bangeman's piece last month on ars technica reporting on data from Live365).

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