Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Radio Silence

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 637

Internet radio is one of the coolest things about the information age. Any day, any time, I can launch iTunes or surf to Live365 or Pandora, and hear an astounding variety of music, news and commentary beamed from all around the world right to my computer. What's on top of playlists in Holland? Got it covered. Singapore? Ditto.

Unfortunately, internet radio is under immanent threat of extinction (and no, this isn't the old hoax about the internet tax, blah, blah, blah). Last month, the Copyright Royalty Board, a three-member commission of the Library of Congress responsible for administration of statutory copyright licenses, issued a ruling that effectively increases royalty payments owed by internet radio operators by 300 to 1200 percent, depending on a station's audience size. The ruling is scheduled to go into effect May 15, 2007, when it will then be applied retroactively back to January 1, 2006.

Make no mistake, this is a measure that will kill internet radio. Moreover, it is designed to do so: satellite radio operators pay only one quarter of the rate imposed on internet radio, and - surprise! - broadcast radio doesn't pay it at all. The International Webcasting Association fought this measure, and lost. They then appealed for a rehearing, and lost. The only recourse left is direct action by listeners to internet radio for legislative intervention by Congress.

So, here's what to do:
1. Learn more
2. Contact your representatives in Congress
3. Tell a friend - email this post, or any of the embedded links, to as many interested people as you can think of.

This stuff only takes a minute, and time is of the essence; again, this measure takes effect on May 15. A few minutes now can save internet radio into the future. Please act to save internet radio while there's still time.


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