h.r.2060 -- the internet radio equality act

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a bill has been introduced in the house of representatives to correct the stupidity being perpetuated on internet/digital radio by the copyright royalty board (stupidity being lovingly fawned over as fair and good by soundexchange, a body spun off as a non-profit from the riaa). it was sponsored by representative inslee (d-wa). (thank you!) there are currently 42 co-sponsors (as of right now). thank G-d at least one Texas representative has had enough sense to join up...way to go, ron paul! (r-Tx) please go to savenetradio.org and use their easy setup to call and/or write your congressional representative and ask them to support or co-sponsor this bill.

if you like current internet radio at all, if you enjoy listening to some small stations that play artists you don't hear on big corporate radio, if you want to keep small independent internet radio around as a choice -- you need to take some action. the new pricing structure will immediately kill almost all small webcasters because the new fees are retroactive to jan 2006. as soon as they take effect, most small webcasters will have to shut down due to the debt they suddenly acquired. a debt that isn't fair, but is currently "legal". (from my divorce, i'm more than familiar with such a scenario.) i myself called my representative's office (culberson) a couple of days ago.

here's a couple of good articles about the reality of recent public claims soundexchange has made, where they've been trying to spin and justify the royalty board's fee restructuring:
"soundexchange: show us your work" -- fred wilhelms (may 1 2007)
"soundexchange: let's see the math" (part ii) -- fred wilhelms (may 3 2007)

i found the first article from rusty hodge's blog (he's the general manager behind somafm.) go to rusty's blog for some other good info and links about what's going on. he's been pretty actively involved talking to congressional people and staff in d.c.

the riaa has been able to get away with some screwed up stuff over the years -- mostly because the general populace was ignorant of the issues and what was being done but could at least see how them going after "music pirates" could be okay (assuming you buy into that perspective). their sly legal manipulations regarding laws surrounding digital recording/copying/performance has been pretty nefarious, but this time the riaa/soundexchange is trying to screw businesses and individuals that: are not easily painted as shady or pirates by the riaa/soundexchange; are providing a valuable service to a lot of people; and are generally well-liked by the general populace. never mind they actually promote and generate interest and sales for the artists they play.

funny how organizations supposedly there to help the recording industry and artists are hurting their own smaller constituents. could it be they don't care at all about the small artists and labels, and are just interested in their own money and power?! why are they doing this?

my opinion (beyond the possibility that they're just extremely ignorant, which i highly doubt) is that it's because the riaa/soundexchange wants to control the new medium that is internet radio, and it has developed somewhat outside the control of the traditional music/radio business powerholders. let's face it, the big record companies evidently already lost to traditional broadcasters long ago -- over-the-air stations don't have to pay any copyright/performance fees, only "musical work" fees. this is the big labels' chance to get their teeth into a young broadcast medium. i mean, really, the money they siphon from the internet broadcasters they are trying to force out of business is just a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. once they've driven all of the pioneers and early adopters out by feeing them to death, then they can revamp the whole system and put a new one into place that lets them maintain control over the music industry and provides more income to them. and if they destroy some smaller artists and labels in the process...oh well. it'd take too much work to allow for them. and what if they got popular and the current power labels started to lose out?

that's my opinion anyway. but it fits what i see.

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Culberson's office: bad tippers (on huge orders), as I recall, although he was nice enough when he came in for the occasional sandwich.

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