Divided We Fall

The battle over music royalties is once again spilling over into Congress, as the last couple of weeks have seen contradictory measures introduced in the House of Representatives.

Last week, we reported that Rep. Jerrold Nadler has introduced legislation to compel broadcasters who stream on the web to pay higher fees. This week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced he was sponsoring a bill that would permit webcasters to lower their rates.

Where did they get all these representatives? Oh, right, there are 435 of them, and from the looks of it, with the right approach you could get one of them to sponsor a Flat Earth Act.

What appears to be noteworthy about the Nadler and Chaffetz legislation is that, while Nadler’s bill targets local broadcasting specifically, Chaffetz’s does not include us at all.

Now that some Internet-only players have become big-time, the new media situation has come more complex. It is no longer just broadcasters lined up against the record industry, and you’d think that would be a good thing. But the contention between the Internet-only guys and the radio guys creates an every-person-for-him/herself mindset and makes it easier for the record industry to divide and conquer.