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Webcasters have a new forum this week, with the launch of the Webcaster Alliance. Many of the founding members dissented against the attempted compromise Small Webcasters Amendment Act, or HR.5469.

The Alliance's founding members include Mike Hays of Twangcast, who was part of the negotiations with the RIAA until he quit in disgust; Ann Gabriel who will be the Alliances' first President, and Bob Pullman who wrote a ferocious condemnation of the SWAA here. The group says it will welcome hardware and software vendors too, and stressed that it will lobby for results that benefit all members of the community, rather than a small demographic:-

"Our industry was torn apart by the introduction of and latest attempt at legislation in HR 5469," says Mark Glynn of NewOrleansRadio.com and the Alliance secretary in a release announcing the launch.

It's getting confusing out there, with a number of bodies claiming to bring webcasters and sympathetic parties together. There's the IWA (International Webcasters Association) established in 1996, and more recently Mike Roe's Voice of Webcasters (VoW) list. The VoW list saw some wide ranging discussion, with Roe becoming the biggest advocate of the RIAA-negotiated compromise. So how's the new Alliance going to be different?

Brian Hurley of Detroit Industrial Radio told us that the WA was a community, unlike the VoW, and noted that the IWA declined to take an official stance on HR.5469 during its controversial voyage through Congress. There are no plans to introduce membership fees, he added.

"We hope to have webcasters of all sizes working for fair legislative relief," he told us. "The WA plans to lobby for a fair legislative settlement and work toward proving the promotional benefits of internet radio," said Ann Gabriel.

You can find the Alliance's website here. ®

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