Monday, July 16, 2007

Internet Radio Stations Are Still On The "Air"

I must admit that I had given up hope. I've been here before. You fight the good fight, you know that what is happening is totally unjust, but you lose anyway. Some greedy, lying, cheating fat cat gets away with bloody murder off the backs of decent good people with the helpful support of the government. The deadline for the royalty rates increase for Internet Radio Stations was yesterday, July 15, so this morning I was expecting to hear snow when I turned on Radio Paradise, my favorite Internet radio station. What a surprise, there was music instead! And posted on their webpage was this message:

Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of support we received about the royalty rates that the big record companies were trying to impose on Internet radio stations like RP, the US Congress has intervened and told the RIAA guys that they had to play fair and negotiate a rate with webcasters that won't bankrupt our entire industry.

All of the dust hasn't settled, but it looks like we will continue to pay the highest royalties of any class of broadcaster in the US — but not the absurdly high rates that the record companies had wanted (and that the US Copyright Office had rubber-stamped). For all of the details, see last Friday's edition of Kurt Hanson's RAIN newsletter, or this Wired blog post.

It looks like the good guys won this time. It happens so rarely these days that I don't know what to make of it. I hope this bodes well for the future. There are bigger and far more important battles ahead. But it's important to celebrate the little victories. It reminds us that the strong don't always win, sometimes us little guys can get a knock in, too.


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