Monday, March 05, 2007

U.S. Copyright Royalty Board deep-6's music Webcasts?

from Wired yesterday, Sunday 3/4. Extracted, tinkered-with quotes (because it's more fun to take the extra step,) of the article in their Listening Post blogcolumn:

The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (the who?) announced new royalty rates for webcasts, effective from 2006 to 2010. The board apparently simply endorsed the RIAA's proposal, which would force webcasters to pay for each song streamed to each user, estimated at over a penny an hour for each pair of receiving ears.

The Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN)'s math indicates the rate would render Internet radio unsustainable, or at the very least, more ad-laden than terrestrial radio(!) -- and that's before the songwriters' licenses are figured in. Even tiny sites would owe the minimum of $500 per channel per year...

Webcasters have a 15-day period to ask the CRB to rehear arguments.
Here, hear! Easy prediction: besides pulling the plug on smalltime and amateur webcasters, ciao to Web streams of so-called "terrestrial radio" (again, quite a misnomer since you don't stick a radio antenna in the ground; they transmit through what used to be called "the airwaves"). There was a period some years back when some similarly bone-headed ruling made many radio stations decide to take down their Web streams, which then went back up when whoever changed their mind.

"...more ad-laden than terrestrial radio"? Is that even possible? I can't listen to much commercial radio for its oversaturation of ads, a disproportional amount being loud rude ones.

But what'll happen to all those neat stations in iTunes?

Wired's article even has a picture of said Board being sworn in; starting today they'll be sworn at.

Update on the Webcast royalty decision

RAIN (the Radio And Internet Newsletter) quoted in the Wired article says the most successful medium-sized webcaster, Radio Paradise, would owe over 125% of total income. They and the littler guys are toast.

They figure AOL radio would owe $20 million for 2006 -- not only is it retroactive, but increases in each of the five years the ruling will cover.

But -- big surprise -- Clear Channel and the other bigs get off the hook with manageable dues, due to a wrinkle in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the infamous DMCA. (Folklore has it that there were some politics involved).

from the RAIN newsletter
(...Because here in America-As-Texas, we like everything BIG. And only big.)

The Radio Paradise people started a very passionate Save Internet Radio site, apparently over the weekend.


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- Bill