Save Internet Radio

The RIAA is trying to kill Internet streaming radio —

On March 1, 2007 the US Copyright Office stunned the Internet radio industry by releasing a ruling on performance royalty fees that are based exclusively on the number of people tuned into an Internet radio station, rather than on a portion of the station’s revenue. They discarded all evidence presented by webcasters about the potentially crippling effect on the industry of such a rate structure, and rubber-stamped the rates requested by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Under this royalty structure, an Internet radio station with an average listenership of 1000 people would owe $134,000 in royalties during 2007 – plus $98,000 in back payments for 2006. In 2008 they would owe $171,000, and $220,000 in 2009. There is no way for a station with 1000 listeners to make that kind of money, and so this would effectively put them out of business.

Broadcasters, including NPR and Clear Channel, are trying to fight these new rules — one of the few times when Clear Channel has done something good. The fact that they’re on board with NPR should tell you something.

Simply put — the RIAA is a dinosaur. Rather than recognizing that the delivery and consumption of music has changed, they continue to enact draconian practices (forcing through this fee structure, lawsuits against music downloaders, etc.) in an attempt to roll back the changes — to put the genie back in the bottle. They can’t continue to do business as usual in a long-tail, democratized, user-driven environment, and so they’re attacking to maintain their grip on things.

Here are some resources for you — Get involved and stop this.

Copyright Law and the CRB: What Went Wrong?

….plus, contact your Congressional representatives. Maybe they’ll actually listen to you.