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Webcasting - Internet Radio: news and information on broadcasting over the web.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
The Devil IS in the Details
or the Saga of Internet Radio, RIAA, Congress AND The Library of Congress
[When last we picked up this story, I dropped the ball when I should have reported in more detail about the privately negotiated settlement between a group of webcasters called the Voices of Webcasters and the RIAA/Sound Exchange... We continue.]
It appears the LA Times has picked up the ball in covering the problems small webcasters are still facing over the royalty payments due the Library of Congress. In the article: Webcast Measure Divides Its Ranks, (reg required) writer Jon Healey tells the tail of a Detroit webcaster, Brian Hurley. Hurley is for all intent and purposes a "hobby webcaster," and complains loudly about the financial problems the hobbyist will face if he continues to webcast his music online. From where I sit, I wish Healey could have found a local LA webcaster who would talk on the record. But considering the major labels are here-- may be it was lucky Healey didn't.
Also it appears the original Sennenbrenner Bill is running into trouble. I am not surprised. The Bill was crafted under considerable pressure and negotiated at the last minute. In the end the Webcasters who profited from the Bill were the larger commercial webcasters and excluded the college and hobbiest webcasters. These are a large number of webcasters, and those without substantial bankrolls to buy favor in Congress.
Now it appears Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) is crafting and seeking support for of the record industry by encouraging them to "voluntarily" not collect fees while a new legislative solution is developed. Sources are telling us Helms is going to act in the best interest of those not represented by the first negotiation. Helm's plan is to seek legislative remedy (read a new law or laws,) for the "larger universe of webcasters," and "buy time" to pass a better solution during the "lame duck session" of Congress in November. We could only hope-- and hope they get it right this time.
And finally The LA Times has also done an article explaining just how much power MaryBeth Peters, Registrar of Copyrights for the Libary of Congress actually has when it comes to ownership and enforcement points on the DCMA. The article called, She Holds the Cards in Copyright Fight, explains the Solomon's job Ms. Peters has when it comes to dividing the digital pie of "fair-use" of ownership, sale and transfer of ownership and royalities of everything from books and CD's on the re-sale market, to conducting fact-finding roundtable meetings to get all the facts.
Whether we like the decisions Peters has made, it is a monumental job I highly doubt she bought into when she started her career at the LOC some 38 years ago. 3:24:02 AM
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
The Devil IS in the Details
or the Saga of Internet Radio, RIAA and Congress
[This weekend we had a major multiday power and cable modem failure-- it figures this news would break.]
When last we picked up this story last Tuesday, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and sponsored Bill HR5469 to delay the Webcaster's fee payments for 6 months, had pulled the bill from the voting schedule. It also appeared that Sensenbrenner had applied a little down-home common sense into the fray. He and his staff grabbed the webcasters (using the name the Voice of the Webcasters,) and RIAA representatives by the scruff of the neck, thrown them into a conference room and told them to "negotiate a fair settlement or else." For the novice webcaster's who entered the lion's den to deal with the posse from the RIAA it was their first opportunity to see what it is really like to dance with the devil.
For the next couple days into the weekend I was personally bombarded with confidential notes and messages from those inside and outside the negotiations about what was being discussed. While I personally offered my opinions, I remained publically silent, (as I promised,) as to not interupt the progress the group was trying to debate and come to terms.
Now that things been agreeded upon, I can and will offer my opinions publically.
The webcasters involved in the negotiations did one hell of a job for their first time at bat in the lawmaking process. For most of these people who are not lawyers, nor have they ever played in the political circles of lobbying for a cause, I am personally very proud of the work they did, especially against professional lobbyists and lawyers who do this on a daily basis and generally have the morals of an female black widow at mating time. The webcasters learned these "pros" had to be watched at every turn of the process, even when they attempted to exclude the artists from the revenues ethically due them.
Welcome to the big leagues folks!
The reality check is the RIAA finally got the message. No matter how the RIAA will spin it-- some reasonable amount of money is better than no money. And the webcasters stood up for their principles to pay a reasonable fees based upon fiar percentages of revenue-- and they made sure the artist got a direct portion of the money.
More later... I'm way too tired right now. 3:34:50 AM
Thursday, October 03, 2002
Zoe Lofgren Should be Sainted: Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren puts common sense in goverment. She and her staff have written the "The Digital Choice and Freedom Act of 2002." The law defines those gray areas some people like Mary Bono would like to remain hers. 8:57:24 PM
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Pass This Along: 20-Day Live Webcast to Raise Awareness of Internet Radio!
Las Vegas, The Entertainment Capitol of the World, is hosting a 20-day live webcast to raise awareness for the plight of small Internet broadcasters. Countdown to Save Internet Radio can be seen and heard beginning October 1 at www.saveinternetradio.net.
The webcast will feature a mix of music (80's, 90's and today), talk, interviews and fun. There will also be daily updates and special reports pertaining to the Internet Radio Fairness Act (H.R.5285) and (H.R.5469), the recently announced bill to provide a six-month stay of all obligations of webcasters and broadcasters to pay performance fee royalties while an appeal is pending. Proceeds from the webcast will benefit the International Webcasting Association Legal Defense Fund.
In addition, a fund raising and awareness campaign will begin with a webcast supported by the IWA beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 1 in Las Vegas. Committee members Ann Gabriel of Gabriel Media and Scott Jamar of All Bass Radio are going to be hosting a continuing webcast at a public location in Las Vegas and asking for people to donate to the legal defense fund and sign letters of support for the Internet Radio Fairness Act. [www.saveinternetradio.us] 3:58:24 AM
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
The Devil's in the Details
or the Ongoing Saga of Internet Radio and RIAA
It appears someone has grabbed the webcasters and RIAA representatives by the scruff of the neck, thrown them into a conference room and told them to "negotiate a fair settlement or else." Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and sponsored Bill HR5469, has pulled the bill from the voting schedule.
Rumors have it the two groups are finally talking about a deal based on a percentage of webcasters' revenues vs. the per-play model. If an agreement is reached it will over ride the Library of Congress' original webcast royality arrangement, which would virtually run out all internet radio stations out of business and straight into bankruptcy. [More as this is developing.]
Humor Here: It appears the Onion has decided to take on Hilary Rosen of the RIAA and the DMCA issue in their own way by suing radio stations for giving away free music. Ha-Ha! 2:59:41 PM
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Yes, The Devil is in the Details...
in plain English
Because of I've been off working on other projects, I had not read the details of the new LOC Reporting Requirements, until I talked to Doc yesterday. Now that I've had time to kick back and go over them, here's my 25 cents on the subject.
The Library of Congress has issued the Interim (temporary) Recordkeeping Requirements for Transmission of music over Internet Radio. What this means is the Library of Congress has FINALLY told the Internet Webcasters and Radio people exactly what information they must submit in their reports to levy the Copyright fees for usage. Or at least for the time being.
What I've read shows me SOMEONE at the LOC has some common sense. They appear to want to assist the webcasters in complying with the Law. Whether we like the Law or not, is another debate for another day.
As it sits now, the list of information the LOC wants is very short compared to the unreasonable volume of information the RIAA and LOC had wanted originally. (I can't find the original URL.)
The New Requirements include:
- "the name of the service submitting the report
- the transmission category of the service [i.e., a single letter code identifying the nature of the service transmitting the performance, e.g., Eligible nonsubscription transmission by webcaster of over-the-air AM or FM radio broadcast, other eligible nonsubscription transmission by a webcaster, eligible nonsubscription transmission by commercial broadcaster of over-the-air AM or FM radio broadcast, eligible nonsubscription transmission by non-CPB, noncommercial broadcaster, etc.]
- for each sound recording transmitted by the service during the relevant period:
- the featured recording artist
- the sound recording title
- the name of the record album containing the sound recording, if in the possession of the service, or supplied to the service, at or before the time of the performance
- the marketing label of the sound recording, if in the possession of the service, or supplied to the service, at or before the time of the performance; and
- the total number of performances of the sound recording during the relevant reporting period." [LOC Requirements]
The original taxonomy of information they had wanted submitted was impossible to collect. 99.44% of the webcasters could never have complied with the requirements. So someone at the LOC got the clue.
"The interim requirements are likely to require each service to report the following information for a certain period of time during each calendar quarter:" [LOC Requirements]
This too is also good. The current requirements are very similar to those required by traditional radio broadcasters. This includes limiting the reporting periods to a small period of time every quarter vs. forcing internet radio broadcasters and the radio stations who simulcast to report each and every song they webcast 24/7/365. I call that a serious reduction in paperwork and data collection.
Other than money, one of the webcaster's major gripes at the LOC Roundtable Meeting was that no reporting software in existence could generate the volume of information RIAA and SoundExchange had wanted the LOC to collect. When it came to older or independent recordings the information they were demanding did not exist at all.
In my opinion expressed to the LOC, it was a very unreasonable request of the Government to put the burden of responsibility on the webcasters to collect all the information that SoundExchange demanded be given to them through the LOC. No one including the LOC had ever collected and complied all of the information they wanted. There was no funds to pay someone to do the task. So the LOC got real and modified and scaled back the reporting taxonomy of information so that it fit a the broadcast model.
While I still disagree with the LOC on the fees being charged Internet Radio Stations and the additional fees being levied on Broadcast Radio Stations who simulcast, the LOC has with this Ruling made it possible for the webcasters to obtain reasonably priced software to collect and report the information to the LOC.
The LOC will be releasing the Requirements for Ephemeral Recordings of music shortly. 4:23:05 PM
Friday, July 26, 2002
The Devil is In the Details
CARP Sticks a Fork in Internet Radio.
Tonight it came to my attention that Kurt Hanson has been tracking the number of webcasters and internet radio stations going offline since the Final CARP Decision made by the Library of Congress on June 20, 2002. This decision issued a determination on proposed performance royalties webcasters will be forced to pay record companies and artists for the right to stream their music on the Internet. It is a fact of life that this royalty rate is so high that it will bankrupt the independant and college stations you have listened to in the past.
Here is the list of silenced stations by CARP as of July 11, 2002 (source Kurthanson.com)
Public Stations now off line: KWJC-MO; WRSU-NJ; WERS-MA; KTSW-TX; WSUM-WI; WSTB-OH; WONB-OH; WXOU-MI; WZIP-OH; WUTK-TN; KDIC-IA; KETR-TX; WSBF-SC; WRMC-VT; KSDS-CA; WNYU-NY; WSUW-WI; WEVL-TN; KRCL-UT; WSRN-PA; KXCI-AZ; WUVT-VA; KSJS-CA; KDHX-MI; WPTS-PA; KBCS-WA; WMHW-MI; KBVR-OR; KXRJ-AR; WDWN-NY
Silenced iM Network affiliates: Zydeco to the Bone; Nuevo Wave-O; Jazzeteria; Altrok.com; Celtic to the Bone; Extra Smooth Symphonie; Melancholia; Qawwali-On-Demand; 60s RnB to the Bone; Just Classic Rock; All Top40 Hits; Piecemeal; Swing Central; Cafe Twilight; Jazz to the Bone; Drone Sickness; Gospel to the Bone; Truly Cool, Cool Jazz; 400 Years of Hits
Jazz to the Bone; Hot Bubblegum 100; Dream Chamber; Modern A Cappella; African to the Bone; Hillbilly Radio; Cajun N Country to the Bone; X-tra Energy Dance; World Intensity; New Orleans to the Bone; Modern Rock Hits; Rastaman's Reggae
MainLine Rock; Latin to the Bone; House Party; Love Field; Planet Musiquarium; The Breakbeat Jungle; Succubus; Bollywood; Club Reggae; Hyperspace; Murder, Betrayal and Redemption; Top RnB Hits; ChitrapatSangeet; Resonant Radio; Sweet Revenge
Female Voices; Old Dawg Country; EnginesOfReagan; Lovecats; Muddy Channel; Movie Music; Adventures In Radio; Truly Alternative; Alt Songsters to the Bone; Spacerant; Trance-ilvania; Vox Radium; 50s RnB to the Bone; Box O Bone's; Digitalis; darcade; Not AA Radio; Busted Heart Radio; Shuaku No Bi; Hillbilly Radio; Kickin' Kountry; Cyberspace Sonata; Solvent Loud Radio.
What can you do?
Congress leaves for Summer Recess July 26, the Senate leaves August 2, 2002: so time is short. A group of webcasters and industry trade groups have formed VOW Voice on Webcasters. The site is a common ground for people to gather information from a supposed central source. At the moment the site is lacking a considerable amount historical information prior to the CARP Decision, however it does have one jewel worth following--
It allows anyone to fax their U.S. Congressmen and Senators a letter regarding the silencing of Internet Radio for free. Pass this information along to your friends and associates, please. 3:53:48 AM