Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The RIAA Doesn't Care About Internet Radio

On March 1, 2007 the US Copyright Office stunned the Internet radio industry by releasing a ruling on performance royalty fees that are based exclusively on the number of people tuned into an Internet radio station, rather than on a portion of the station’s revenue. They discarded all evidence presented by webcasters about the potentially crippling effect on the industry of such a rate structure, and rubber-stamped the rates requested by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Under this royalty structure, an Internet radio station with an average listenership of 1000 people would owe $134,000 in royalties during 2007 - plus $98,000 in back payments for 2006. In 2008 they would owe $171,000, and $220,000 in 2009.

In other words, if they are allowed to stand these rates are a death sentence for independent Internet radio stations. The only stations that would survive would be those who can afford to operate at that kind of loss, such as AOL (who would owe over $20,000,000 in 2006, far in excess of their income from radio).

What You Can Do (from http://www.saveourinternetradio.com/)

1. Sign this online petition and open letter to the US Congress.

2. Send an email to your members of Congress. You can use our suggested text, or write your own.

3. Print out the email (you’ll get a copy) and mail it to your Congresspeople. Follow up with a phone call. You can look up their addresses and phone numbers here.

4. Write a letter to the editor of your favorite magazines and newspapers. If you know someone in the media, let them know what’s going on. Have them read my post below, if you like.

5. Don’t panic. Together we can save the medium that we all love. We have the passion to make it happen!

6. Digg this post to help spread the word.

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