"A lot of people have been saying that the Net would level the playing field for people putting their music online," said Dwayne Andrews, a committee spokesman. "But if you give the music away, how are people going to make their money?"
This will largely be an informational hearing; the small-business committee does not have the power to draft legislation dealing with copyright or taxation issues, Andrews said.
But other legislators closer to the issue are beginning to take a hard look at what Napster and other music-swapping software is doing to copyright law.
At a recent meeting with digital music executives in San Francisco, Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Dave Dreier, R-Calif., were given a quick lesson in the new realities of the online music business, which is trying to adapt to the spread of file-sharing programs.