Thursday, May 3, 2007

Being Really Insensitive to Artists and Aficionados (RIAA) Pays Off Big Time!

...so, the RIAA has got to psyched, right? It's cool to be #1 at something, even if it is the worst company in America, as voted by the Consumerist. I mean, it takes a tremendous amount of concentration to zip past Haliburton and Exxon (numbers 2 and 3, respectively) in so short a period of time! Way to go, RIAA!

I worry about you, though, as a friend. How can you maintain your lead, year over year, over competition so stiff and fierce? How? Think, RIAA! Think like the wind!

What's that you say? You've figured it out?? You are going to try to shut down internet radio stations for good by charging them a fee that you don't charge commerical, terrestrial broadcast stations? That's brilliant!! It's so anti-consumer, anti-nascent industry, anti-artist...why, it's almost anti-American when you stop to think about it. Congratulations, RIAA! I'm sure you're looking at a decade of being the Worst Company in America parties. (If, of course, you last that long as an organization.)

In case you haven't been paying attention, there are several trains (rockets?) headed for each other on the same track right now:

  • terrestrial radio is becoming more and more irrelevant in the new media world
  • the two satellite radio players (Sirius and XM) are looking to merge
  • internet radio stations are beginning to catch on after several years of struggling along as hobbyist sites
...and, of course, the RIAA wants to rain on the party.

After a failed "back door" attempt to shut internet radio down with a ridiculous fee structure a few years ago, the RIAA is trying it again with a "front door" approach. They petitioned the Library of Congress (actually, the Copyright Royalty Board - which is the department of the LofC that deals with copyright royalty infringements) to enforce a fee structure on "digital music transmission" of $0.08 per song per listener. (Why per listener? Because they can.) They sited a bill that the RIAA pushed through in 1995, which levies fees on digital music.

The LoC bought it - and made the fee retro-active to Jan 1 2006. This means that brilliant radio programming, like RadioParadise.com would owe $100's of $1000's a month to SoundExchange, the extortion thugs for the RIAA. This type of legislation would shut down Bill Goldsmith, programmer/DJ of RadioParadise, and the 1000's of internet radio stations like him. (Even the relatively big boys, like NPR, are concerned about how they would pay the retro fees.)

The original date on the filing to begin enforcement was May 15 - this week, internet radio was thown a bone by the LofC by moving that date out to June 15. The lobbying is, of course, in full swing. Check out SaveNetRadio.org for all the details on how you can help.

...of course, if you help - the RIAA might not get the Worse Company in America moniker in 2008, so you need to think of that when you are making your decision.

Hey...think we can talk Haliburton into contributing to the SaveNetRadio.org?

1 comment:

The King said...

The RIAA is the reason I stopped buying music. Thanks to the ability to 'tape' things off net radio, I no longer have to think that my money is going to the likes of oh I don't know, Britney Spears who lip-synched her way through a 15-minute performance at $150 a ticket two nights ago. "Artists" like her are the ones that the RIAA says they are "protecting" from losing their shirts because people are "stealing" from them. However, dear Britney didn't steal $150 from each of those teenagers who probably robbed their parents and sold their undergarments to pervs on the Internet for the money to go see her "sing".