CNET News is reporting that the Senate has passed the Webcaster Settlement Act, the legislation that lays the groundwork for Web radio stations to negotiate reduced royalty rates for the songs they stream over the Internet.
The bill had already passed the House on Saturday; now President Bush is expected to sign it. “I’m relieved, optimistic, and grateful to our listeners,” said Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, the Web radio station that’s been at the center of the fight since it began.
The report said that webcasters have long complained that the royalty rate to stream music is too high for Web radio stations to generate any profit. “Representatives from Internet radio and the music industry have been in negotiations for more than a year. Recently, the two sides have gotten closer to an agreement and both say they are confident a deal is within reach.”
Since the parties are seeking a statutory license, which lets them play songs without having to seek permission each time, Congress had to get involved. Here’s hoping Pandora and other Web radio sites stay alive and deliver mobile music to the masses for years to come.