today i called my two senators to ask them to support/co-sponsor the internet radio equality bill (s. 1353). of course, i only spoke to the aides answering the phones. both calls were short and somewhat awkward; however, i should at least have been able to help add one more tick mark to the number of constituents asking them to co-sponsor the bill.
i also went ahead and called my representative's office again. i called a while back, but he still hasn't signed on as a co-sponsor of the house bill (h.r. 2060) so i wanted to see if he'd taken a position on the issue yet. he hasn't. the house bill has 92 co-sponsors as of earlier today -- hopefully it won't take too much more work to get it the rest of the way to force a vote.
go to savenetradio.org. call your senators and representative. help force the moronic crb and soundexchange to give small webcasters a chance to promote independent and niche artists. help preserve the diversity and choice that internet radio provides. the internet radio equality act still allows the artists to get paid more than what they get paid for being played on traditional radio...which is nothing. without getting into an argument of whether "promotional use" should pay fees or not (which is how traditional radio gets away with not paying these fees), the current legislation creates a better and more fair state for webcasters by putting them into the same fee structure as satellite radio. (and satellite evidently cut a deal where they're paying a flat fee instead of the percentage, according to a blog post by rusty from somafm.com.) but whatever. it's closer to fair than the shakedown the crb and soundexchange is trying to pull on them.
yesterday soundexchange (appears to have) attempted to cut their possible future loss of rate-setting control by offering an "olive branch" to small webcasters. the press release was rather short on specifics, rather long on defensiveness and posturing, and basically sounded like someone forced into a corner but not wanting to admit it. most likely it's an attempt to knock the legs out from under the savenetradio campaign, because it's a meager compromise (and pretty void of specifics) that gives some short term breathing room to some webcasters. those not knowledgeable about the situation, or just looking to get the whole mess over with, could -- from a quick glance -- misinterpret it as a good-faith response by soundexchange to reach a fair compromise. but it's pretty easy to see the whole press release comes across as authoritative, condescending, and like "we shouldn't have to play this way, but -- gosh darn it! -- we're just such a nice group of fellows to do something like this, even though most of those money-grubbing meanie webcasters are evil, evil, evil!" the truth is, in the long run it does not address in the least the issues that swung webcasters and internet radio listeners into action. webcasters are not being treated fairly compared to other digital transmission mediums. and certainly not compared to traditional terrestrial radio. continuing to offer the current rates for a couple more years and then jumping right back to the massive rate hikes is not a solution webcasters should embrace. and the simple fact is: why should webcasters lose steam to accept a vague and crappy "olive branch" that only helps some of them in the very short run, when they appear to be within reach of getting the rates set at truly fair and reasonable levels with the help of government intervention?
i was glad to see savenetradio.org pretty quickly (on the same day) sent back a big fat "fsck you" press release (see it on their site) in response to soundexchange's sham of a "compromise." as i said before, i'm really hoping soundexchange/riaa finally bit off more than they can chew. soundexchange/riaa have been masters of the two-faced, double-speak political game for a long time. it's amazing to read their recent press releases and see the absurd positions they attempt to justify by empty-yet-passionate quotes and careful manipulation of statistics and data. in fact, one of the biggest tactics is basing everything on how much money artists won't get if their new fee structures aren't followed. but the fees haven't even been in place. and are the fee structures fair in the first place? isn't that what the disagreement is about? "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! we are the great and powerful...uh...soundexchange! the crb has...uh...spoken..." they also try to paint everyone else as money-grubbing corporate monsters. funny, considering the pristine corporate citizens they were spawned from. after their self-congratulatory, gloating commentary after the crb upheld its new fee structures by denying the motions from webcasters, it'd be nice to see the long arm of the legal system shoved up their fees all the way to their smiling press releases.