- October 21, 2002
Thanks for letting me know of your opposition to the so-called "webcasting" bill (HR 5469) currently pending in the Senate. I agree that this bill is dangerous for the fledgling internet broadcasting industry, and I am deeply concerned that small webcasters will not be able to remain viable if the royalties proscribed under this legislation take effect.
Like many of my colleagues, I was appalled at the outcome of arbitration before the Library of Congress, which set royalty payments at an exorbitantly high rate. I supported the original incarnation of HR 5469, which placed a six-month moratorium on the bill taking effect.
Unfortunately, the recording industry was able convince House leaders to replace this moratorium with a far-ranging rate structure it negotiated with a small fraction of disadvantaged webcasters. The resulting bill threatens the future of many small webcasters whose views were never considered during the negotiation process.
I certainly hope that a solution can be found that is fair for the recording industry, the artists it represents, and the hard-working entrepreneurs that make up the webcasting industry.
Senator Jesse Helms
Jesse Helms: populist.