Monday, April 22, 2002

Hey! Do you like Web radio? Well, if you don't do something about it, it won't exist much longer. Thanks to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Copyright Arbitration Panel (CARP) it may go effectively out of business.

Anti Digital Millenium Copyright Act website

"The DMCA was passed by congress in 1998. The DMCA provides a means for record labels and recording artists to collect a copyright fee for the use of recorded material when used on the internet. These fees are in addition to the fees that are paid to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. The DMCA is being used to silence researchers, computer scientists and critics. Corporations are using it against the public. Public/College radio stations can no longer afford to webcast."

In a nutshell CARP will make it cost prohibitive for internet radio to exist. CARP fees will be based on per song PER LISTENER!!!! That doesn't even include the BMI and ASCAP fees that these station are paying already. The record labels are using the argument that these royalties are going to go to the artists. I have my doubts, but that's not the issue. The cost, according to a NYT article, will be 0.0014 cent per song per listener. At 100 listeners on average, with an estimated 12 songs an hour, over the course of a year the annual fees will be over $14,000. This is in consideration of the fact that THESE STATIONS HAVE NO REVENUE!!!!!!! These are hobbyists, or tight budgeted college stations! While I'm not at liberty to say what WZRD's budget is, let's just say is a huge chunk and we don't web broadcast anymore. Did I mention these fees will be RETROACTIVE dating back to 1998!

As a musician I know how difficult it is to make a living playing music first hand. I’m still in debt over the CD I helped pay for over four years ago. But the notion put forward by the RIAA ( see Steve Marks letter to Salon) is laughable, that any significant portion of CARP fees will go to artists. The RIAA has never it it’s entire life ever had any interest in helping small labels and artists receive the royalties they speak of. The sole goal of the RIAA is and always has been the financial gain of their respective members. The fact stated by Mr. Marks, that many web casters pay large sums for hardware, etc. to broadcast is absolutely right. However the majority of these people are doing this as a hobby that they love. This act will affect, more often than not, the little guys. They can’t or won’t be able to afford the additional cost of the fees incurred by the DMCA/CARP arbitration. Most have a hard enough time getting the money they spend for bandwidth, hardware, etc. These people just want to provide an alternative source for music other than the tight and rigid format that is corporately owned commercial radio. In fact half the time these tiny little stations BUY THEIR OWN BLOODY RECORDS!!! Commercial radio stations don’t have to do that, they get them for free from major labels, and even have a deal worked out where the labels pay the radio stations, a.k.a. corporate radio owned "legal" payola scam promotion companies known as "indies". Mr. Marks, lawyer for the RIAA, phrased his letter to Salon that they are dealing solely with the Clear Channel and Infinity Broadcasting conglomerates of the world. Most webcasters are in fact small stations have no revenue whatsoever. Most of them also play a large variety of music, like unsigned and independent label artists (could be why RIAA wants web radio dead?) The radio stations that do make income get the majority of it off banner ads attached to their website to offset infrastructure costs. I have yet to hear of a internet station sell commercial air time (I’m sure they are out there, but very few).

Save Internet Radio! Go here to find out what to do.

SAVE OUR STREAMS! Another good source of what to do.

All you gotta do is find out who your Rep and Senator is, copy the form letter by clicking here and then click Take Action, and send it to your respective Representative and Senator. Click here to find out who your Rep is and where to reach him/her.

I can't gaurantee that this will make the difference, but if you don't do anything web radio is gonna be all but dead! More later, back to work.


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