Today Is The Day of Silence

You probably hadn’t heard about it, right?

After all, we KNOW what matters, right?

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By contrast, THIS story warranted a mere 30 stories:

Tiny Web radio stations squawk over royalty fees
[San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 2007]

Internet radio DJs are replacing their eclectic playlists with a “Day of Silence” today, a protest against new royalty rates they say could decimate the fledgling digital broadcasting industry.

Earlier this year, a congressionally appointed three-judge panel drastically increased the royalty fees the stations must pay for music streamed over the Internet. Critics say the rates, which would be retroactive to 2006, will make it impossible for small stations, public broadcasters and specialty startups that cater to the industry to stay in business. The new rates are scheduled to go into effect July 15.

“For us, the royalties went from $20,000 to $600,000 per year,” said Rusty Hodge, whose 11-channel SomaFM Web site was launched in 2000 and operates in San Francisco’s Mission District. “That’s about three times the total income we made in 2006. We’re not getting rich off of this.”

… Today’s protest comes after a decision in March by the Copyright Royalty Board, which ruled that starting July 15, Internet radio stations will be charged based on the number of their listeners. Previously, the stations paid a percentage of their revenue. Internet radio providers are governed by different rules than traditional radio stations, which don’t pay royalties to performers or publishers — except when they broadcast over the Internet.

The “Day of Silence” was created in support of the proposed Internet Radio Equality Act, which was introduced in Congress in May. If passed, the bill would overturn the royalty board’s decision and restore rates as a flat percentage of revenues.

Good to know what the big media considers a priority. Well, internet radio might actually be a form of “competing media” — like blogs, f’r instance — but a rising Paris Hilton lifts all media boats, I guess.

THE challenge of the 21st Century in property rights is going to be “intellectual property.” Just to be on the safe side, you might want to think your original thoughts right now, before they (like your DNA) are copyrighted and patented away from your ability to think them.

Will Congress kill internet radio?


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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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