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Archive for the ‘CRB’ Category

Stop The Impending Silence Of Net Radio!

Posted by Molli Fire on Monday, 25June07

This message is so important that I have decided to repost it with some extra information. SaveNetRadio.org has declared a Day of Silence for internet radio broadcast on Tuesday June 26th. The stations that participate will give listeners only a taste of what it will be like after July 15th if the increased royalty rate is upheld. Internet Radio Day Of Silence 2007 Stations that go silent will likely include Pandora, Live 365, Yahoo LAUNCHcast, and MTV Online, and NPR member stations. These stations, plus others like AccuRadio, Radioio, Digitally Imported, Rhapsody and many more would be seriously impacted by retroactive royalty increases equal to 50-300% of the station’s current revenue income. In Rhapsody, Pandora and Live365’s cases, the increase would also penalize their multiple channels platform, causing rate increases equal to more than 1000% of their current revenue. 1000%! According to the RAIN (Radio And Internet Newsletter):

Webcasters will be alerting their listeners that “silence” is what Internet radio may sound like on or shortly after July 15th, the day on which 17 months’ worth of retroactive royalty increase payments are due to the SoundExchange collection organization under the terms of a recent Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision.

Read more about the situation on the RAIN website and check out SaveNetRadio.org for more options of what you – the listener, the musician, the dj, the webcaster – can do to help.

Call Your Congress To Save Internet Radio

LINKS To Contact Your Congress

US Senators Home Page
Write Your Representatives Page

 

 

Save Net Radio - Internet Radio Day Of Silence

DO ANYTHING THAT IS WITHIN YOUR POWER TO SAVE NET RADIO!!

Please spread the word, copy and save this image and use it on your own blog. Tell all your friends. Write to the US Congress using the links above. If you can think of other ways to get involved, please share them in the comments here…

 

This report has been submitted to DIGG and Reddit. Please add your support to either.

 

Digg!

REDDIT THIS!

 

 

 

 


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Posted in +Greatest Hits+, activism, CRB, culture, dj, free, hacktivism, industry, internet, music, music tech, news, radio, social | 4 Comments »

Will Internet Radio Be Silenced For 1 Day Or Forever?

Posted by Molli Fire on Tuesday, 19June07

SaveNetRadio.org has declared a Day of Silence for internet radio broadcast on Tuesday June 26th. The stations that participate will give listeners only a taste of what it will be like after July 15th if the increased royalty rate is upheld. Internet Radio Day Of Silence 2007 Stations that go silent will likely include Pandora, Live 365, Yahoo LAUNCHcast, and MTV Online, and NPR member stations. These stations, plus others like AccuRadio, Radioio, Digitally Imported, Rhapsody and many more would be seriously impacted by retroactive royalty increases equal to 50-300% of the station’s current revenue income. In Rhapsody, Pandora and Live365’s cases, the increase would also penalize their multiple channels platform, causing rate increases equal to more than 1000% of their current revenue. 1000%! According to the RAIN (Radio And Internet Newsletter):

Webcasters will be alerting their listeners that “silence” is what Internet radio may sound like on or shortly after July 15th, the day on which 17 months’ worth of retroactive royalty increase payments are due to the SoundExchange collection organization under the terms of a recent Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision.

Read more about the situation on the RAIN website and check out SaveNetRadio.org for more options of what you – the listener, the musician, the dj, the webcaster – can do to help.

Call Your Congress To Save Internet Radio

Look at the left sidebar here at HearingTest for 2 links for contacting your Senators and Representatives in Congress. The lins are under the title act!

 

 

Save Net Radio - Internet Radio Day Of Silence

 

 

 

 


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Posted in +Greatest Hits+, activism, CRB, culture, DC, DIY, dj, free, industry, internet, legal, music, music tech, news, radio, social | Leave a Comment »

Smaller Internet Radio Stations Get Extension On Rate Increase

Posted by Molli Fire on Tuesday, 22May07

Hurray for the dedicated supporters of internet radio broadcasting!!! We have achieved at least a small victory today, and hopefully it will serve as precedent to achieve bigger victories in the near future!

The announcement came down the vine today that SoundExchange (who i thoroughly reported about here) has offered a reduced royalty rate to “smaller” webcasters. We can only hope that this will further translate into no royalty rate for those stations that are able to prove that they do not broadcast music that incurs any royalty at all. You may recall that previous decisions had included a $500 minimum fee for every station plus royalty fees even for strictly talk-based radio. The new decision states that smaller stations on the web will owe 10% of revenues up to $250K and 12% of revenues over $250K. For stations that already pay royalties and fully comply to this system, this will come as a great relief. However, the language of the press release leads one to think that this may be a temporary fix to give smaller net stations a chance to catch up before being hit with the original plan of increased royalty rates. Let’s not even get started on how the government considers this a “subsidy” to small webcasters to help them get their business built up enough to afford the big fees, rather than a free speech or freedom of access to non-commercial music. So, the struggle to keep internet radio accessible to all has not yet been won…

Listeners Can Save Internet Radio

Please read more about the new situation by checking these links as the story progresses:

LINKS

Radio And Internet Newsletter
Save Net Radio
Hypebot

PBS report on the dynamics of webcasting.

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Posted in +Greatest Hits+, activism, CRB, DIY, dj, hacktivism, industry, internet, legal, music, music tech, news, piracy, radio, social | Leave a Comment »

Creativity Through Copyright Allegiance

Posted by Molli Fire on Monday, 21May07

There’s a new copyright group in town…According to Future Music blog:

A new intellectual property advocacy organization dubbed the Copyright Alliance has launched to reform the current state of copyrights n the United States. The group is made up of 29 organizations in the U.S. ranging from entertainment and arts groups to technology and sports coalitions. The alliance estimates that the number individuals it represents totals 11 million.

It dubs itself a “non-profit, non-partisan educational entity” and states its intention “to provide educational resources and promote creativity, jobs and growth through copyright.”
promote creativity through copyright? puhleeeease… Read more at Future Music blog.

Also, hypebot is following every move of WMG as it raises bids to purchase EMI. WMG is confident that the EU will approve the merger, but is that actually likely? EMI seems prepared to remain independent, so the bidding game should remain interesting…

  
  
  

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Posted in CRB, DRM, industry, legal, music, news, piracy | Leave a Comment »

Big Brother Is Trying To Outlaw Fun, Dancing Is Revolutionary

Posted by Molli Fire on Wednesday, 2May07

While the RIAA and CRB are working diligently to eliminate public access to music and radio online, politicians and police are dredging up ways to prevent people from making music and dancing.

I’m about to show you the different ways that NYC groups are working to open the possibilities for live music and dance events in a city that is clamping down on music venues. Here you will find fun parties to go to, a review of the Mayday celebration, and the historical significance of how our access to social gatherings is being eroded.

The current prohibition atmosphere of certain major cities from SF to NYC, the actions of the RIAA and CRB towards university students and webcasters during the last few years, and the FCC’s increased licensing “laws” and gestapo raids on micro-powered radio broadcasters a few years before that, mirror the conflicted relationship between legislative bodies and community supported channels of entertainment in nearly every medium, in every modern nation. Today, the headlines are focused on the censorship of live music and the act of dancing to live music, but the struggle remains the same as the days of prohibition. Here is what made headlines today….

NYC Cabaret Laws Are Destroying The Music Scene

New York City has been severely deprived of live entertainment because of tight restrictions that make it difficult to obtain and maintain cabaret licenses. Similar in spirit to crackhouse laws in the Southern states and the Criminal Justice Act created by the UK Parliament in 1994 to prevent large music festivals and the public performance of music with a repeating sequence of beats.
Big Brother is trying to outlaw fun. And what’s worse, is that it’s being done with laws that are incredibly prejudiced – these laws were written and passed to prevent interracial socializing (cabaret laws), to profile music enthusiasts as drug users (crackhouse laws), and to limit the free assembly of low-income people (any law that forces you to get a permit to use public land). Basically, these laws are designed to keep the people complacent through homogenized outlets of safe entertainment, and restrict the channels that provide an opportunity for revolt. Even though most of these channels are not trying to revolt against anything, they are trying to provide opportunities to relax and have a good time. Different people prefer different forms of relaxation, but all should have equal access to methods that are widely enjoyed, no? Not all will feel relaxed at the opera, or a Gwen Stefani concert, but I think all people should be encouraged to enjoy the performance of music and dancing.

Greg Miller, the president and spokesperson of Dance Parade, told metro :

“Three years ago, there were 300 cabaret licenses,” Miller said. “Every three months the number drops by 15. It’s so hard not only to get a new cabaret license, but to get one renewed because of building codes.”
“there are 148 cabaret licenses and that includes adult entertainment, hotels and restaurants”

What happens when a vibrant city like NYC has trouble finding legal venues to socialize in? Music venues are dropping like flies in the Big Apple – just 2 weeks ago, the closing of the Tonic and subsequent arrests made headlines, while many readers may not have noticed the FOR SALE sign on the building that houses the Knitting Factory. The Knitting Factory is not in immediate danger of closing. Despite a sale of the building, the venue will continue to operate through their 2009 lease. After this date however: “there has been no decision as to the future of the venue.” In NYC, 5 venues a month lose their cabaret licenseWhat is there to do then, in the nightlife capital of the world?

Dancing In The Streets Of New York

What happens when there is no legal venue to party in? The party people take to the streets! The next opportunity to meet up with New York City’s finest revelers for a day of Dancing In The Streets will arrive on May 19th. That’s the day for the first annual Dance Parade with thousands of dancers – including YOU – and top djs Kool Herc, Danny Tenaglia, John Jellybean Benitez. There will also be performances from many dance groups representing different styles, from breakdancing to ballet, with whirling and wild styles. The Dance Parade is organized to raise awareness about the cabaret law as well as NYC’s dance history.

Dance Parade’s president Greg Miller is not new to events in public space. This past Saturday found him at the 9th Annual Blackkat Mayday party, which itself faced permit issues for the first time ever. Instead of the community gathering being held in Tompkins Square Park, the event site for the last 8 years, the organizers had to choose another location when unable to obtain permits required in a timely manner. Jason BK told the metro that the Blackkat artist collective had applied for the permits in January, and had not received permission by May 1st!

9th Annual NYC Blackkat Mayday Party

In the tradition of International Workers’ Day, the crew of artists and musicians known as Blackkat hosted their 9th annual Mayday Party in NYC this past Sunday. Blackkat has organized free and low-cost community events in NYC for over a decade, such as Party 4 Freedom and Justice in 2002, and the Biotour Benefit in 2005. The Indypendent newspaper reported from the 2007 Mayday party, quoting Jason BK, Amok, and Chrome, who supply and maintain the sound for these events- from the speakers to the noise :

“We live in a city where money and getting your name out there is more important than actual content that’s provided,” said Amok, a musician and two year Blackkat collective member. “This is what makes Blackkat so very different, it puts content first always … which is something that other crews unfortunately forget to do.”

In the past, Blackkat has joined forces with other groups including Dance Parade New York, the Madagascar Institute, The Danger, DanceSafe, Renegade Virus and Havoc Sound. Events have included a fundraiser for the 2005 Biotour benefit, numerous festivals and parties in various warehouses such as 3rd Ward and the now closed Lunatarium and 38Nine (in Queens).

“The main point is that it is vital that people come together in a creative community and we hope that these events can be part of that community,” said Chrome. BK added, “They have to be fun to be effective.”

Guest speakers this year included Norman Siegel, a civil rights attorney, and Missy Galore of the NYC Dance Parade. Information tables were hosted by DanceSafe, IndyMedia, Metro In Motion TriState Biodiesel and more. The sound stage was provided by MadAro, Anthony, and Disorient with maestro Daniel.

May Day 2007

Take Action!

resisting the NYC cabaret laws
Dance & get involved with the Dance Parade

Blackkat And Friends

Check out the official Blackkat website, where you can see more pix from the event, download super tight dj mixes by the Blackkat noise bringers, and choose your own adventure from there, it’s a mad mad jungle what this fella get up to when he gets together with some friends! It reminds me of a quote about Spiral Tribe, another music and art based soundsystem unorganization who were participated in events around the UK countryside from dusk til dawn til dusk and dawn again for days. The quote is from Spaces of Democracy :

“Spiral Tribe, with their free and inclusive parties, succeeded in constituting an alternative public space, rather than just a secret one. Though no one could say how many lives were touched in their three year tour of duty”.

Props to the Blackkat population for bringing it for more than 10 years! The roots run deep, the branches have touched many, many people.

The Rest Is History…

Blackkat, HavocSound, soFat! Sound, and Renegade Virus joined forces during 2001-2004, hauling speakers, generators, records or synths throughout NYC plus occasional road trips to other parts of the US and Canada. These soundsystem collaborations earned much respect and no money for providing nonstop music at the Annual Blackkat Mayday Party, Swamptek, Autonomous Mutant Festival, Monsters of Love 1-4, renegade outdoor free parties across the NYC/SF/US, and underground warehouse events in NYC and SF, all while supporting and spreading the DIY free party culture and direct action for sustainable technology. Since 2004, Blackkat and Jungle Terror Krew have continued the mischief with Renegade Virus and TBI25 in NYC … while 5lowershop, HavocSound, and soFat! have been raging in SF with S.P.A.Z. and Army of Love – constructing walls of sound and yards of power cable at AMF, Monsters of Love, Unchained Reaction, Fuck Parade, renegade outdoor, indoor, mobile, and underground free parties all over SF/NYC/USA. These non-profit crews have sustained where many other well-funded businesses have come and gone as a result of their experiments in alternative technologies. The consistent message of building a more concious culture is further demonstrated by the work these people have done in the science of sustainable living on this planet and grassroots outreach and education in the community. All the crews mentioned have been in involved with converting all their tour buses and generators to run on straight vegetable oil, teaching workshops in biofuel systems and sustainability skills, mobile microbroadcasting, and a weekly internet broadcast with FM radio rebroadcast in England and Europe.

BIG UPS TO THE NY MASSIVE!! MUCH LOVE TO THE 5LOWERSHOP EXTENDED NETWORK!!
Thank you for everything you have already done and much luck to all your future projects!

Spiral Tribe vs. the Public Order

Free parties became a big issue in the UK and Europe during the early 90’s when large gatherings of people would assemble with concert speakers and have a free dance party. To outlaw this type of noncommercial music festival (there were no camping fees, or tickets sold, you just had to be able to get there, and feed yourself for the duration), the Parliament of the UK created the Criminal Justice Act in 1994. Ironically, the main focus of this Act was to restrict and prohibit “anti-social” behaviors, including organizing and attending huge gatherings centered around a common interest in popular music. It even included a section based on the type of music considered anti-social – repetitive beats – and used a precise definition of how many bars of music had to pass without a beat looping and/or repeating! Spiral Tribe challenged the Act and held massive outdoor events with live performances of hypnotically repetitive beats. The UK punk band, Crass, contributed their social commentary with a furious double kick drum beat that repeated until you thought your heart might collapse. The wall of speakers that Spiral Tribe carried to these events was the length and height of 3-4 city bus coaches long and tall. When Crass played, the drums would be a barrage of punches shooting out of that wall. 13 members of Spiral Tribe were arrested immediately following the Castlemorton Common Festival in May 1992 for public order offenses. The techno-punk crew seemed to be having a blast doing as much damage to the legal system as possible. The courtroom became a circus. The defendants, and their supporters in the benches, wore Tshirts to their court appearances with the message “Breach The Peace” written in large letters. The message was seen in every photograph and television news coverage of the case. Especially handy if you released a record with the same name, which Spiral Tribe had. They released albums of fantastic techno, with deejays chatting over some tracks. Forward The Revolution blends the steady beat of Native American drumming with the excited heart beat of their drummachines and the Native Am. singing with Simone’s flawless humanoid rapping about the future of the free party system. She defiantly repeats, “You might stop the party, But you can’t stop the future.” At the end of the 4 month long case, it was calculated that this was the longest running and most expensive case in British legal history. Just to stop the music.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. If you would like to do more in your community to add your strength to the resistance, either contact the people mentioned in this article, or start your own crew – the more the merrier, and the stronger we all are. Feel free to comment and discuss any point mentioned here in the comments section.

 

 

The rest is just a disclaimer about the copy and publishing rights pertaining to this article….
With the exception of quotes that are clearly labeled, i wrote every word of this, and if you copy it or reprint it in any way with giving credit, i will get very nasty. I only mention this because of the huge problem i am having with online content aggregators, and in no way in reference to grassroots education. If you would like to copy or print it and share it with others, please just give the proper credit. The creative commons license that protects this work is clearly stated and linked in the sidebar and in the page titled disclaimer.
Thanks!

 

 

 


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Posted in +Greatest Hits+, activism, bass, breakcore, CRB, dancehall, DIY, dj, dub, electronica, experimental, festivals, free, jungle, legal, music, music tech, news, noise, NYC, piracy, punk, radio, RIAA, SF, shows, social, street art, writ | 3 Comments »

Bjork, Volta – Audio, New Interviews, Live Broadcast

Posted by Molli Fire on Tuesday, 1May07

NPR Radio – Live Broadcast Plus New Interview/Article

Community radio giant NPR announced today that they will be transmitting a live broadcast of Bjork’s full concert from the United Palace in New York. It airs approximately 8pm ET on Saturday, May 5th. Until then you can get your Bjork fix for the day by reading the lovely article NPR has posted, where they discuss the upcoming album with Bjork herself. She relates more about the creative energy and turbid state that inspired this more aggressive and more political side of her. As she tells NPR at one point :

“It’s about being exhausted with the self-importance of religion, and thinking, ‘okay, wait a minute, maybe we are one tribe, and we’re actually part of nature, and trying to suggest some kind of patent for that.”

Definitely check that out on NPR. The concert series will also be broadcasting a solo concert by Ben Gibbard, live from Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club on Thursday, May 10. More about that on this NPR page.

 

bjork-volta.jpg

Volta Audio Links

You can also listen to these songs from the soon-to-be-released Volta

MOG posts that have Volta tracks :

One More New Article And Interview In NYTimes

Plus, these audio interviews with Bjork from the latest NYTimes article:

It’s a great article with more snippets like these interspersed throughout. Check it out at NYTimes<

Finally, here is a video of Bjork performing “Innocence”, from the Laugardalsholl concert on 9th April 2007:

Support Community Radio – SAVE INTERNET RADIO

If you like to get live concerts broadcast for free on public radio, and you would like to continue enjoying the great programming that stations like NPR provide, then you better get your rear in gear and SAVE INTERNET RADIO! Everybody is qualified to perform at least one of the actions being promoted to help stop the Copyright Royalty Board from sabataging our access to non-commercial radio from around the globe. To find out what you can do, visit SAVE NET RADIO – and hurry! There are only 13 days left until the retro-active fines are imposed. That’s only 13 days until the day the music died if we don’t speak up loudly!

 

 

 

read more about Bjork : news and updates

 

 

 

Posted in activism, Bjork, CRB, DIY, electronica, experimental, free, internet, interview, legal, mp3, music, new release, news, NYC, piracy, pop, radio, shows | 2 Comments »

New Bill In House Hopes To Save Internet Radio Broadcasting

Posted by Molli Fire on Friday, 27April07

Radio And Internet Newsletter aka RAIN reports today that a bill has been introduced into the house by Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) that shows hope for indpendent internet radio broadcasting. It is titled The Internet Radio Equality Act and covers the following aspects :

The bill has five major provisions:

  1. Nullifies the recent decision of the CRB judges
  2. Changes the royalty rate-setting standard that applies to Internet radio royalty arbitrations in the future so that it is the same standard that applies to satellite radio royalty arbitrations — the 801(b)(1) standard that balances the needs of copyright owners, copyright users, and the public (rather than “willing buyer / willing seller”). (For more detail on this point, read the recent RAIN issue on “Copyright law,” here.)
  3. Instructs future CRBs that the minimum annual royalty per service may be set no higher than $500.
  4. Establishes a “transitional” royalty rate, until the 2011-15 CRB hearing is held, of either .33 cents per listener hour, or 7.5% of annual revenues, as selected by the provider for that year. Those rates would be applied retroactively to January 1, 2006. (The logic behind this rate, incidentally, is an attempt to match the royalty rate that satellite radio pays for this royalty — thus the name of the bill.)
  5. Expands the Copyright Act’s Section 118 musical work license for noncommercial webcasters to enable noncomms to also perform sound recordings over Internet radio at royalty rates designed for noncommercial entities, and sets an transition royalty at 150% of the royalty amount paid by each webcaster in 2004. (Note that this amount would be a set, flat fee through the end of the decade.)

For future CRBs (e.g., 2011-15), adds three new reports in the CRB process: The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information will submit a report to the CRB judges on the industry impact in terms of competitiveness of the judges’ proposed rates; at the same time, the FCC will submit a report to the CRB judges on the effects of the judges’ proposed rates on localism, diversity of programming, and competitive barriers to entry; and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will submit a report to Congress and the CRB judges on the effect of the the judges’ proposed rates on their licencees.

RAIN’s webpage is much more informative, as it has links sprinkled throughout these provisions. RAIN also points out :

Now that the bill has been introduced, the SaveNetRadio.org “call to action” is specific and direct: The site is now asking listeners to call their Representative and ask him/her to “cosponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act, introduced by Representative Jay Inslee.” Once listeners click the “Call Your Representatives” button on the site and enter their zip code, they are given their Representative’s House office phone number and a list of “talking points” to emphasize.

Please click over to RAIN’s webpage for more information. They have a pdf version of the entire Act, as well as more coverage and suggestions for how you can participate.

One thing you can do is call your Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act. Hit Save Net Radio to get your Rep’s phone number.

International Listeners

If you reside outside the US (lucky you!) you can still help keep internet radio from being crushed by this BS. Join SaveNetRadio’s coalition! Click Coalition to find out how.

 

 

SaveNetRadio.org

MORE LINKS

http://www.savenetradio.org/index.html
http://www.kurthanson.com/

Posted in +Greatest Hits+, activism, CRB, DIY, dj, free, hacktivism, internet, legal, music, music tech, news, piracy, radio, RIAA, social, technology | Leave a Comment »

A detailed report on the Battle Between Webcasters and the CopyrightRoyaltyBoard

Posted by Molli Fire on Wednesday, 7March07

randall munroe
comic by Randall Munroe

I posted last week about internet broadcasters (webcasters) being charged royalty fees, including retroactively for all of 2006, when the US Copyright Royalty Board announced its decision on the new rates. (See here for that post) Given the obscene nature of these fees : enforced retroactively AND costing 2-5 times more what most stations were able to earn through listener support and advertising, the online community and the legal defense parties are leaping into action, first with an appeal, and simultaneously with awareness and support from people who don’t want to lose internet radio stations.

One internet radio station that will be dramatically affected by this new royalty rate is SomaFM from San Francisco, CA. They are a poster child for the small radio station that played by the rules, but might be forced to shut down due to the enormous disparity between what a station is capable of earning, and what it is expected to pay to all the different music management and licensing companies. SomaFM relates the details of their situation in the latest newsletter :

You may have heard, but once again internet radio is facing huge additional royalties for broadcasting music. These royalties are in addition to the ones that we pay to ASCAP and BMI, and are a royalty that is only paid by internet broadcasters. Over-the-air (AM/FM) broadcasters are explicitly exempt from this royalty; it only applies to internet broadcasters and subscription music services. In the past, we paid royalties based on a percentage of our revenues, in our case 10% of our revenue. But the new royalties don’t allow that percentage of revenue factor, and instead charge us for each song we play times the number of people listening. This works out to about $8 per average concurrent listener per month. In 2006, we averaged over 6000 average concurrent listeners per month, and the royalties we will have to pay for 2006 is about $628,000, over 4 times the amount of money we brought in. And these rates go up drastically each year, until 2010, where they are 2.5 times their initial rate: by then we will have to pay over $1 million dollars a year in royalties if we want to stay on the air. So you can see that this puts us in an impossible position. And to make it even worse, the rates are retroactive to 2006. It doesn’t seem fair that a small radio service like SomaFM has to pay all these additional royalties, when over-the-air stations who reach much larger audiences are exempted from paying them. If you are in the USA, we would appreciate it if you could sign this online petition which will be presented to members of Congress.It’s important for us to let Congress know that independent internet radio is about to be forced out of business. We need to keep our existing “percentage of revenue” royalty rate structure, or better yet, have Congress extend the exemption to internet radio stations as well as terrestrial (over-the-air) stations.

http://www.petitiononline.com/SIR2007r/petition.html

Thanks for all of your support for SomaFM in the past. We will do what we need to do to keep SomaFM on the air and broadcasting. We love you!

Rusty Hodge,
General Manager and Program Director
SomaFM.com

For more information on SomaFM, visit their website : http://somafm.com

This petition is the big deal right now. The website “Save Our Internet Radio” has a page with 6 things you can do to help webcasters in this daunting legal battle, and this petition is at the top of the list.

Mad as hell about the threat to Internet Radio? Do Something!

Posted by
Bill Goldsmith

1. Sign this online petition and open letter to the US Congress.

2. Send an email to your members of Congress. You can use our suggested text, or write your own.

3. Print out the email (you’ll get a copy) and mail it to your Congresspeople. Follow up with a phone call. You can look up their addresses and phone numbers here.

4. Write a letter to the editor of your favorite magazines and newspapers. If you know someone in the media, let them know what’s going on. Have them read my post below, if you like.

5. Don’t panic. Together we can save the medium that we all love. We have the passion to make it happen!

6. Digg this post to help spread the word.

In order to digg that post, you will have to go to the post itself. Just click on the headline, or the word permalink in the quoted text.

Another thing to consider, since Congress is a bit slow to action, is contacting the Copyright Royalty Board directly. Let them know exactly how you feel about this decision, how it affects you personally, and how it affects the existance of internet radio. Let them see that killing this industry may make royalties harder to collect in the future, not only because so many stations went out of business, but also because we, the public, aren’t being exposed to new artists and new music, and therefore are not buying as many albums as we did when we heard it first on internet radio. You can contact the CRB directly at :

Copyright Royalty Board
P.O. Box 70977
Washington DC 20024-0977

(202) 707-7658

Or use the online form on their website : http://www.loc.gov/crb/contact/

For what it’s worth, many organizations, government agencies, and lobbyists count each form of communication as representing more than one person’s opinion. The formula for this type of math counts letters as representing more people than phone calls, which in turn represent more than emails. Doing all 3 counts the most!

Even Wired Magazine is abuzz with updates on the battle between broadcasters and the Board. Today their headlines included :

Royalty Hike Panics Webcasters
08:00 AM Mar, 06, 2007
By Eliot Van Buskirk

Internet radio companies big and small are revving up for a fight with the Copyright Royalty Board that could lead to the halls of Congress and — some fear — the end of streaming music stations in the United States.

The panicked preparation follows last Friday’s buzz-killing bombshell: As 50 million or so online radio listeners geared up for their weekends, the board released new royalty rates representing a potential tenfold increase webcasters would have to pay out.

In the old, percentage-based fee system, webcasters paid SoundExchange — the Recording Industry Association of America-associated organization that pushed the Copyright Royalty Board to adopt the new rates — between 6 percent and 12 percent of their revenue, depending on audience reach. The new system charges all webcasters a flat fee per song per listener; for instance, in 2007, streaming companies would owe $0.0011 per song per listener (rates change based on year).

That amount may not sound like much, but it adds up quickly. Consider, for instance, AOL Music, with its average of 210,694 listeners for November 2006. According to calculations made by the Radio and Internet Newsletter, or RAIN, AOL retroactively owes about $1.65 million in sound-recording royalties for that month alone (and that doesn’t include songwriting royalties). By the end of this year, according to RAIN, the company could owe roughly $20 million — unless the rates are overturned by the board or by Congress, which is still a possibility.

Larger services that offer thousands of channels, such as the free Pandora, are also facing a huge spike in royalty costs. Kurt Hanson, publisher of RAIN and CEO of AccuRadio, went so far as to speculate that Pandora, which is based in the United States, could “disappear” as a result of the new rates. Overseas competitors like Last.fm, which is based in London and removed from the board’s restrictions, could easily claim Pandora’s market share. If Pandora has to pay the annual $500 minimum for each channel, Hanson said, its sound-recording royalty bill for 2006 alone would be capped at about $2 billion (based on the service’s 300 million registered users, each of whom gets to create up to 100 unique channels).

“The rates are disastrous,” says Joe Kennedy, CEO of Pandora. “I’m not aware of any internet radio service that believes it can sustain a business at the rates set by this decision.”

The situation for smaller webcasters isn’t any better. And for the likes of Bill Goldsmith, who runs Radio Paradise, it’s far worse: “This royalty structure would wipe out an entire class of business, small independent webcasters such as myself and my wife. Our obligation under this rate structure would be equal to over 125 percent of our total income.”

The smallest webcasters, who use services such as Live365 for their shows, will likely vanish as well unless the rates are overturned. RAIN pegs Live365’s royalty obligation for 2006 at approximately $4.2 million — and that’s not counting the minimum $500 it could owe annually for thousands of its channels. Again, that’s in addition to other royalty fees. (The site, like most others, already pays songwriter royalties to performing rights organizations BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.)

Live365 did not respond to e-mail and phone queries from Wired News in time for publication, and Yahoo declined to comment. SoundExchange also failed to respond.

Hanson, who testified at the hearings on behalf of small webcasters, said he doesn’t “think the people actually running the record labels want to see internet radio shut down,” but that SoundExchange’s lawyers had planned “an aggressive, win-all-you-can battle in Washington. I think they were more successful than they expected to be.”

Pandora’s Joe Kennedy believes the board’s decision will not stand — it’s simply too extreme. He wrote to Wired News, “The only reason the (online streaming) services are not shutting down today is the belief that rationality will ultimately prevail here, either through appeal or congressional intervention.” (A third option, according to Hanson, is that SoundExchange could choose to continue licensing music as a share of revenue, as it did before the Copyright Royalty Board decision.)

Only webcasters that were involved in the original Copyright Royalty Board decision-making process (Yahoo, AOL, Live365 and a few smaller webcasters including Radioio, Ultimate80s and Accuradio) will be able to file an appeal, and they have 15 days to do so.

The House Commerce Committee’s telecommunications subcommittee is holding a hearing on March 7 to hear testimony on the current and future radio industry. Witnesses will include Mel Karmazin from Sirius, Peter Smith from broadcaster Greater Media and Bob Kimball from RealNetworks.

If the new rates stick, online music fans may come to expect far less innovation, variety and quality when it comes to internet radio. Some industry experts fear that even more users could be driven to illicit services that pay no royalties or those that operate from other countries.

A little more info on SoundExchange, taken from the FAQ on their website :

Who
governs SoundExchange?

The SoundExchange Board of Directors oversees all operations of SoundExchange.
This board approves such things as the distribution methodology and
administrative expenses. It is comprised of one representative from
each of the major label groups (EMI Music Group, SONY BMG Music
Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group); independent
labels (Tommy Boy Entertainment, a large independent, and Matador Records,
a small independent); a designated executive from an independent label
association; a designated executive from the Recording Industry Association
of America (RIAA); and an equal number of artists and artist representatives
from such organizations as AFTRA, AFM, the Recording
Academy, Music Manager’s Forum – U.S. and the Future of Music Coalition.
For a full board member listing, click
here
.

When was SoundExchange founded?
Before its spin-off in September of 2003 as an independent organization, SoundExchange was originally created in 2000 as an unincorporated division of the RIAA.

I’m already a member of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. Don’t they cover this for me? What is the difference?
No. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC represent a different copyright than SoundExchange. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect performance revenue for the owners of the copyrighted musical work (the song), i.e. music publishers, songwriters and composers. SoundExchange collects performance revenue for owners of the sound recording copyright (the recording) and for featured and nonfeatured artists. SoundExchange, therefore, performs a different function and does not compete with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. In fact, a company with both publishing (“song”) copyrights and recording copyrights should join collecting societies administering both types of rights: one for the song and another for the sound recording copyright.

And, a list of the SoundExchange Board includes :

SoundExchange Board

Alasdair McMullan
– EMI
Andrea Finkelstein – Sony BMG
Cary Sherman – RIAA

Daryl P. Friedman
– Recording Academy*
Dick Huey – Matador Records*
Don Rose – American Association of Independent Music

Jay L. Cooper, Esq.
– Recording Artists’ Coalition (RAC)*
Jay Rosenthal, Esq. – RAC*
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth – AFTRA
Michael Hausman

Michael Ostroff
– UMG
Patricia Polach – AFM

Patrick Rains

Paul Robinson
– WMG
Perry Resnick – Music Manager’s Forum-U.S.*
Steven M. Marks – RIAA*

Tom Silverman
– Tommy Boy Entertainment LLC*
Walter F. McDonough, Esq. – Future of Music Coalition
(FMC)*

*For identification purposes
only

One last thing from SoundExchange, their page on Licensing 101 is very valuable for webcasters. It spells out what a webcaster needs to do in order to obtain licenses and pay royalties….

If you would like to read a more detailed article from a legal standpoint, discussing exactly what and who this decision covers, what is financially expected between now and the appeal, and how the new royalty rates were created, and how they are intended to be distributed between the artists and the copyright holder (record company usually) please see the broadcast law blog.

2 great resources for everyone affected by the CRB and the royalty rates – legal guides in PDF form :


INTERNET RADIO: THE BASICS OF YOUR MUSIC ROYALTY OBLIGATIONS

Copyright Royalty Board Announces Music Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements for Internet Streaming

If you have any trouble loading those links, try the IWA page that they came from. These legal guides are offered free to all from the Internet Webcasting Association, courtesy of David Oxenford and Davis Wright Tremaine. The IWA website states :

For more information or questions about these or other legal issues related to streaming, please contact David Oxenford.

Contact Info:
David Oxenford David D. Oxenford
Washington, D.C.
(202) 508-6656
davidoxenford@dwt.com

These advisories are publications of the Broadcast Group of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. Our purpose in publishing these advisories is to inform our clients and friends of recent developments in the broadcasting industry. They are not intended, nor should they be used, as a substitute for specific legal advice as legal counsel may only be given in response to inquiries regarding particular situations.

Both Attached Documents are Copyright © 2006 | Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

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