Assuming negotiations succeed, you’ll have your Pandora to listen to after all. On Tuesday, Congress passed the Webcaster Settlement Act, which gives Internet radio stations like Pandora until February 2009 to reach a new royalty agreement with copyright holders; if they meet the deadline, the government will not interfere, which is great news since it was the gov’s Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that set the current market-killing fees in the first place.
From PC Magazine:
Pandora founder Tim Westergren…pointed out that Pandora would, under the CRB rules, have to hand over $18 million of its expected $25 million 2008 revenue to cover royalty fees—a price that could force the company out of business.
There are still two more hurdles. First, the President has to sign the bill, but it’s widely expected he will. Second, Internet radio stations and copyright holders have to actually negotiate an agreement that both sides feel is fair, and that won’t price webcasters out of business. But at least now there’s hope that one of the web’s most beloved music sites will keep streaming.