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Copyright Office Publishes Final Webcasting Rates 394

Posted by timothy
from the officialdom-strikes-again dept.
Ghaleon writes: "The Copyright Office just released the final rates for webcasting. Looks like the rates are lower than the CARP recomendations, though I'm no webcaster so I'm not sure if these rates are good or not ..." nbrimhall points to a bit more at soma fm as well. Update: 06/20 21:54 GMT by M : See our last story for background information. The final rates are nothing to cheer about: most webcasters will not be able to afford them. Update: 06/21 03:13 GMT by T : An anonymous reader points out the continuing coverage at kurthanson.com, including reactions from Reps. Boucher and Inslee.
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Copyright Office Publishes Final Webcasting Rates

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  • Bye-bye (Score:3, Informative)

    by sulli (195030) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:47PM (#3739958) Journal
    Bye-bye Groove Salad [somafm.com], it's been nice knowing you!
  • Rates... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Twintop (579924) <david@twintop-tahoe.com> on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:48PM (#3739966) Homepage Journal
    From the looks of it, the copyright office wants to make damn sure they get a chunk upfront instead of as a service grows. They don't seem to optimistic this area then, do they?
  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:50PM (#3739979) Homepage
    Tag's Trance Trip [tagstrance.com], one of my favorite internet radio stations of all time, just went down.

    We'll probably see a lot more stations go down. Underground internet radio and offshore stations will be all that's left.

  • Rather surprized that Soma's complaining about being on equal footing with radio. Wasn't the whole basis of complaint about this thing that webcasters were being forced to pay MORE than radio transmissions?

    While it is sad that they can't afford it, why do they deserve better rates than a traditional radio station?
    • by baka_boy (171146) <lennon.day-reynolds@com> on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:59PM (#3740048) Homepage
      Traditional radio stations pay the rates and fees that they do, at least in part, because they are given slices of the "public" radio bandwidth by the FCC for their broadcasts.

      The biggest problem with the new rate structure is that completely non-commercial, amateur Internet broadcasts, which are entirely *legal* (unlike their radio equivalents) will be *effectively* prohibited by the fees, tracking requirements, and back royalties enforced by the FCC.

      Today we see another fine example of the federal government becoming the enforcement arm for major corporate interests. This new fee system was not made to benefit consumers, or to protect the innovative world of Internet audio broadcast, but to answer the fears of the RIAA.

      Big conglomerates already own something like 80% of the radio stations in this country, and this new set of regulations will give them all the bargaining chips in snapping up any popular Internet stations. So much for finding new, interesting music on the 'net...it'll be Top 40 for everyone, from here on out.
    • The difference between Internet radio and traditional radio is as the difference between just about anything on the Internet and the traditional way: barrier to entry. The costs of starting up a traditional radio startion fall into the millions and millions of dollars. The cost of starting an Internet radio startion? Well, it depends on the number of listners you want to start with (bandwith usage) but could start being as little as a few hundred a month for a commercial job, or even less if you can run one off a cable modem.

      This new per-performance rate, while low and on-par with traditional radio, effectivly kills all the small, independant internet radio startions out there. Sure, huge commerical ones will continue unemcumbered, but the small time ones that played all that hard-to-fnd music will now be gone, unable to pay these fees. In other words, big money has won out again, and the small independant radio station is one again a thing of the past.

    • by grytpype (53367) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:36PM (#3740286) Homepage
      In addition to the other good followups that have been posted, another difference between broadcast and Internet radio is that an Internet station cannot possibly serve as many listeners as a broadcast station.

      The more listeners the Internet station has, the greater its bandwidth costs -- whereas with a broadcast station, more listeners in the broadcast area do not mean higher costs. That means advertisers would be willing to buy advertising on broadcast radio, giving them an income stream that Internet radio will never have, and that can be used to pay royalties.

      I do think it's absurd that a 500-listener Internet station has to pay the same per-song royalty as a broadcast station that could cover an area with millions of potential listeners.

      This is just another example of the media Goliaths destroying everything they don't already control.
  • Here is some lube. Its been nice knowing you. We will missing you.
  • AP article (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:53PM (#3740001)
    It ain't karma whoring if you're AC:
    (comment: the author thinks this is a victory for webcasters - he must listen to Clear Channel and think it's excellent)

    Rates set for royalties on Internet music broadcasts

    DAVID HO, Associated Press Writer Thursday, June 20, 2002

    (06-20) 14:42 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

    In a victory for Internet music broadcasters, the government on Thursday decided that songs delivered online will be charged royalty fees at a rate that is half of what was originally proposed by an arbitration panel.

    Webcasters will be charged at a rate that amounts to 70 cents per song for each one thousand listeners, the U.S. Copyright Office announced on its Web site.

    Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who oversees the Copyright Office, found that the original proposal that set a higher rate for Internet-only programs than the radio rate "was arbitrary and not supported by the record of evidence," said spokeswoman Jill Brett.

    In May, Billington rejected a government panel's rate proposal -- up to $1.40 per song heard by one thousand listeners. That was double the rate for broadcasts sent out simultaneously on radio and the Internet.

    "It's good news for a number of Internet webcasters who will now likely be able to stay on the air," P.J. McNealy, research director with the analyst firm, GartnerG2.

    Opponents to Thursday's ruling can appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit within 30 days. The court could modify or set aside the decision if it finds the ruling was highly unreasonable.

    Internet radio, either simulcasts of traditional over-the-air radio or Internet-only stations streamed through the Internet to computers, is becoming more popular as people get high-speed connections at home.

    Webcasters said the rates initially proposed were too high and would cost larger Internet radio broadcasters hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, more than they get from advertising or listener contributions. Many webcasters said the fees, which would be retroactive to 1998, would force them to shut down.

    The record industry had sought higher royalties, saying more was needed to compensate artists and music labels for using their songs.

    Webcasters, as well as over-the-air radio stations, already pay composers and music publishers royalties for the music they play, based typically on a percentage of their revenues.

    But traditional radio broadcasters have been exempt from paying the royalties for each song played -- the standard that is now being applied to webcasters. Broadcasters successfully argued before lawmakers that they already were promoting the music.

    After the recording industry failed to impose those new royalties on traditional broadcasters, the industry turned to webcasters -- and a 1998 law granted the industry its wish.
  • Naturally (Score:3, Interesting)

    by martissimo (515886) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:53PM (#3740004)
    The RIAA in this article [com.com], blasted the decision as too low

    guess they just cant accept that a few webcasters might be able to come up with business model that actually allows them to survive.
  • The Librarian established September 1, 2002, as the effective date of the rates. That does not mean that no royalties are due for webcasters' activities prior to September 1. Webcasters and others using the statutory licenses will have to pay royalties for all of their activities under the licenses since October 28, 1998.

    So either cough up 10s of thousands of dollars to pay for your theft of copyrights for the last 4 years, or take your hobby into the toilet. Doesn't matter that you only had, say, 10 listeners at a time or that the stuff you play doesn't belong to RIAA labels or that you had 0 income related to your webcasting. You still owe.

  • by pjones (10800) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:55PM (#3740012) Homepage
    this ruling includes a retroactive charge going back to October 28, 1998 that is due in full by October 20, 2002. so if you were webcasting or simulcasting since 1998 (or before) you OWE for 4 years IMMEDIATELY!
    since the rates are relatively unchanged (completely unchanged for non-commercial), you are out of business because you racked up a debt unknowingly for those 4 years.
    if you are a non-commercial station, college or community, you may have to shutdown both castings and give up.
    • How will they know? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Buran (150348)
      I've listened to the occasional Net music stream, but never served one. But I wonder -- how are they going to know if you've run a Net music service on your personal connection? Business DSL? etc.? It seems like this is a "don't ask, don't tell" situation.
    • What happens when the industry files liens against and takes the homes and property of webcasters because they can't afford to pay? Assuming an individual shuts his station down now, can they do this to "recoup their lost revenue"?? If so, I'd take up arms.
  • Considering how corrupt the current broadcast radio industry is, I'm surprised that online broadcasters are able to license any song to broadcast, whenever they want. With conventional radio, stations play what the labels pay them to play. I can really see these new guidelines thinning out the more amateurish broadcasters, and leaving the more polished, better set-up ones intact. Personally, I wouldn't mind having some sort of radio subscription service for my favourite anime stations...
  • This is great news. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EpochVII (212896) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:58PM (#3740035)
    And heres why: only unsigned bands will be able to get on U.S. net radio stations. Seriously, fark the RIAA. The other good news is all the streams with copyrighted music will be overseas, either hosted there or run by foreigners, it doesnt really matter. Either way more people will be looking overseas to give the finger to the U.S.

    This really does make me sad, though. Hopefully this will jumpstart artists to move to more independent labels.
    • by H310iSe (249662)
      ...this makes me so f...angry. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? So my question is, is the partent post true? can broadcasts simple go offshore (from America) and continue to broadcast for free? What If I stream a channel to an offshore site, can they then distribute it (basically an offshore co-location, um, without the co.) If I run a shoutcast server from my DSL line in the states, will they come and sue me?

      OK, now other than working around this utterly stupid law, what else can we do? Maybe if they try to drag a thousand internet radio broadcasters to court to demand payment it would make such a stink that they'd back off? We know the RIAA hates bad publicity.

      Other alternatives? How about private internet radio 'clubs' where you have to be a member to listen? Does that exempt them (I know bars don't have to pay RIAA (yet) when they play a song, nor do dance clubs). Other than civil disobediance and lobbying what can we do?

      grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
      • "What If I stream a channel to an offshore site, can they then distribute it (basically an offshore co-location, um, without the co.) If I run a shoutcast server from my DSL line in the states, will they come and sue me?"

        What they'd do is label you a pirate, and then get your DSL account removed. I think that's what happened to Film88.com, but if somebody has more insight into what'd happen I'm all ears.

        I am curious what'd happen if you co-located a server with music on it ready to stream, and then paid for your bandwidth in advance. They may be able to send you to jail, but they can't shut down the server... at least that makes sense with the limited knowledge I have right now.
      • OK, now other than working around this utterly stupid law, what else can we do?

        Most radio consists of playlists and filler. What we could do as a workaround is compress the playlists into a string (such as, "Mother - Pink Floyd - The Wall - 1979" etc.) and broadcast that. The "player" would then find this song in the listener's collection, and play it.

        It could have a fuzzy search so if the listener didn't have that particular song, it could play one very similar ("Mother - Roger Waters - The Wall Live in Berlin - 1990" or "Mother - Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes - 1991", for a "sloppy" fuzzy).

        Since the station is not broadcasting SONGS, they aren't required to pay royalty fees.

        A separate company could even develop software to find and download each upcoming song from one of the search engines/P2P platforms. (Separate because of liability.)

        Adding to the previous paragraph, the station would likely broadcast a playlist an hour or so in advance, to give listeners time to obtain the songs. And since there's a lot of dead space, the station can send the "filler material" (ads, interviews, humor, etc.) at a higher bitrate, since it won't need to be streamed -- it could be sent a few minutes ahead of time, taking twice the amount of time to transmit as it does to play (for example).

        Who wants to start writing this?

    • by lpret (570480)
      Another loophole is that there can be direct agreements with artists that will bypass this entire payment scheme. So stations like GrooveSalad, which uses mostly unsigned, or very unknown signed bands, will be able to make an agreement with SomaFM to allow their music to be played without royalty fees. Since most of the internet radio phenomenon is about new and unsigned bands (as the parent poster noted) his really only enhances the sound and helps the underdog band even more. Perhaps...
  • by svferris (519966) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:58PM (#3740039)
    The problem with this rate is that it's still based on the number of songs the station broadcasts. Most webcasters were hoping for a rate based on a percentage of their revenue. But, this was rejected.

    So, even with this reduced rate, we're still going to see almost all webcasters go out of business. It's even going to be hard for the big businesses. I work for a large internet radio company, and I was just told by our exec in charge of working with the RIAA that our rates would probably go up about $500,000-600,000/yr from our current rate. He said one reason is because even if a user skips a song, it still counts as a play.

    For more info, I highly suggest checking out RAIN (Radio And Internet Newsletter) [kurthanson.com].
  • The end result (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @06:59PM (#3740046) Homepage
    Well, the government has spoken, and the rates have been set, at a level high enough to kill webcasting as we know it. The RIAA must be cheering -- if they're not planning some sort of appeal to raise the rates even higher.

    Personally, I think the RIAA has just finished the job of cutting its own throat.

    Let's look at the facts: These rates apply to "commonly available" music, as a default royalty system. Webcasters are free to sign contracts with content performers and bypass these rates entirely. "But there's nothing good out there!" For now, perhaps.

    Thing is, broadband is spreading like wildfire, as is the potential audience for webcasters, and more people will be edging to push their way into it. I'd expect to see underground webcasting stations pushing unknown bands grow common, and then some of them (both stations and bands) will grow increasingly popular. Meanwhile the bands pushed by the big labels (and big prices) will seem more and more stale.

    The end result will be the decline and fall of the record companies, which will probably drag their signed artists down with them. Oh well.
    • Re:The end result (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sulli (195030)
      So let's get that alternative contract out there. SOMAFM, if you're reading, WRITE ONE and make it available to the labels you broadcast! This could become the default.
    • Re:The end result (Score:5, Insightful)

      by beme (85862) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:57PM (#3740413)
      Somehow I think the RIAA's main goal was to kill webcasting as _we_ know it, and rebuild as they want it. Then when the broadbrand wildfire has covered all the Joe Public's out there, the RIAA will be in complete control of this new medium, and do what they will with it, just like regular commercial radio.

      I dunno.. just a thought.

      Since stations get charged per connection even if you don't listen to the whole song, pick your favorite RIAA-sponsored broadcaster and whip up a script to connect/disconnect over and over and over and ...

      :)

      • It's possible... Thing is, while the RIAA can set up its own infrastructure bypassing those stupid royalties, other people can still come in with indy bands as content. The net is a very egalitarian medium, and if someone offers competing goods, people will take it. I suspect the free market will do better than the record cartel in the end.
    • Does it really matter what the label agrees to?

      Wouldn't you have to have an agreement with whoever owns the songs' publishing, which is usually a publishing company and also the songwriter?

      At least in addition to an agreement with the label?
    • by allism (457899) <alice,harrison&gmail,com> on Thursday June 20, 2002 @08:06PM (#3740470) Journal
      from the copyright.gov article: However, the Librarian concluded that the CARP misinterpreted some aspects of the RIAA/Yahoo! agreement. One of the most significant errors by the CARP was its conclusion that the parties must have agreed that radio retransmissions have a tremendous positive promotional impact on sales of phonorecords - an impact that it did not find Internet-only transmissions have - and that this promotional impact explained the decision of RIAA and Yahoo! to set a higher rate for Internet-only transmissions. In fact, both the broadcasters (who benefitted from the CARP's conclusion regarding promotional value) and RIAA agree that there was no evidence in the record to support the conclusion that RIAA and Yahoo! considered and made adjustments for promotional value for radio retransmissions. The Librarian agreed with the Register of Copyrights that the CARP's conclusion about promotional value was arbitrary and was not supported by the evidence in the record, which provided no basis for concluding that radio retransmissions provide a promotional value that Internet-only transmissions do not provide.

      RIAA is once again ignoring the fact that Internet radio transmissions provide MORE benefit to them by being able to reach MORE people at a lower cost. I've bought music from only hearing a single on a spinner.com broadcast--I'm a heck of a lot more likely to buy a CD if I can see who is playing than if I have to guess at who it might be.

      Now that I've vented, can someone please explain to me how retroactive unspecified charges can be applied? If the IRS were to say, "We're going to tax you next year, but we're not going to decide how much those taxes are going to be for a couple of years and then you'll have to pony up the dough," I would think someone would take them to court and manage to get the charges wiped. Can someone with some real background in this explain this to me? Also, what am I missing with the label "Non-Commercial Broadcaster"? Does this mean that if you weren't making ANY money off of your broadcasts, you have to pay a lower rate? (Not that having to pay despite making no money doesn't suck...)

      And why the heck was Yahoo selected to negotiate on this? Sure they've got a broadcast service, but they have money to blow, unlike Joe Schmo broadcasting out of their basement...
      • Now that I've vented, can someone please explain to me how retroactive unspecified charges can be applied? If the IRS were to say, "We're going to tax you next year, but we're not going to decide how much those taxes are going to be for a couple of years and then you'll have to pony up the dough," I would think someone would take them to court and manage to get the charges wiped.

        This (retroactive taxation) has already occurred in the USA. It was done in 1993 [heritage.org] under the Clinton administration [house.gov] .

      • Now that I've vented, can someone please explain to me how retroactive unspecified charges can be applied? If the IRS were to say, "We're going to tax you next year, but we're not going to decide how much those taxes are going to be for a couple of years and then you'll have to pony up the dough," I would think someone would take them to court and manage to get the charges wiped. Can someone with some real background in this explain this to me?

        Unfortunately, this was set when the US Copyright Office instituted CARP to set the rates for webcasting, back in 1998. Webcasters had the choice of a) negotiating their own deal with the copyright holders (aka, the RIAA) until the price was set by the Copyright Office, or b) wait until the rate was set and then back-pay since 1998. Big media companies like Yahoo.com opted for A. For obvious reasons, most webcasters realized that the RIAA would try to set an unacceptable rate and chose B instead.

  • Not all is lost (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kaden (535652)
    It is sad that stations like Digitally Imported [digitallyimported.com] are quite possibly going to become an endangered species. They brought me music I'd never have encountered on FM radio, or most likely have been lucky enough to find on file sharing services. However, many public radio stations that offer streaming audio will remain, such as WQXR FM [wqxr.com] will likely remain, as they already pay royalties. So it is at least almost guaranteed that there will be some free, non-commercial radio in the internet's future. Now if only we could get NPR to pony up the cash for a few public, all-trance stations :-)
  • Sigh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nostriluu (138310)

    I just paid somafm money last week. Not that I regret it, they are a terrific station that plays music I wouldn't hear elsewhere.

    It just doesn't make any sense to have the internet, which creates a worldwide marketplace and communications medium, limited by the same old forces that want to create artificial economies of scarcity because they can't see past their "today's spreadsheet," prejudged view of the world. But they're succeeding, and they'll continue to dominate what we can see and do. It may create stability in some people's minds, but it's not natural.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've been trying to work this one out - does this apply to EVERY webcasting station, or only those broadcasting music that the RIAA has its fingers in? Will stations that only play unamerican music survive? (pun intended)
    • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @08:29PM (#3740577) Homepage Journal

      It doesn't really have anything to do with the RIAA directly. These are compulsory license terms and fees. What that means, is that these are figures that broadcasters get to forcefully impose upon copyright holders, and there is nothing the copyright holder can do about it. If he wants more money, or he doesn't want you to broadcast his music at all, you can tell him "tough shit" and do it anyway (legally), as long as you follow these rules.

      Effectively, all that means is that it sets the upper bound.

      Where RIAA comes in, is that they are big business and won't negotiate with you "little people", so these rates and terms aren't just the upper bound, but they're the lower bound also. This is the only offer on the table when you are broadcasting their stuff.

      For non-RIAA music, such as that garage band that played at the bar last weekend and then had a few beers with you, they are probably very happy to negotiate with you and offer you other terms. So instead of you paying these rates, you'll be able to work out something better. Maybe they'll even let you play their stuff free, because they want people to hear it.

      IMHO, it's pretty fair. The ball is in the musicians' court now. They need to either commit to working for the corporations (who can push them pretty hard and effectively when they want to (e.g. you have probably heard the name "Britney Spears")), or work for themselves (and offer pleasant terms to underground supporters who will push thme in a different way). Choose wisely, dudes.

  • Internet radio is different than regular radio in that you know exactly how many listeners you have. It seems the rates are per song.. and they're the same for commercial and non-commercial..

    And existing radio stations will pay more to replay their broadcasts too.

    You Knew this was comming, most cd's tell you public performance is prohibited, now webcasting is officially public performance

  • Remixes: I'm a big fan of video game [vgmix.com] remixes [overclocked.org], for instance. In cases like those, there's next to no legal issues involved, and there should be no charge. Similarly though, would other types of remixes be immune, even if they extensively used clips from existing songs?

    Unusual selections: If a radio station had, for instance, old audio commercials, which although possibly copywritten, would generally raise no major issues over lost income for the owners, would those follow similar charges? How about theme songs, or approved short song clips?

    On a related note, would station creators be responsible for metering just what was being played at all times, and to how many people? The sheer processor use and disk space required to keep such a log alone would bankrupt most online radio stations, I'd think.

    Ryan Fenton
  • by djneko (50099) <smashdot@ n 6 k o .dj> on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:09PM (#3740119) Homepage Journal
    Reposted from digitally imported's forums [di.fm]

    I don't know how it will affect DI, but if anyone was listening to Tag's Trance Trip, he shut off just before 3pm Pacific Time.

    He was in tears thanking everyone.

    Last song on the air was "Days go by" by Dirty Vegas

    The anarchy of the net can prevail though. As streams drop off the air (every shoutcast stream may be affected), we must trade the files via FTP and P2P networks if we are to stop the music cartels. Blank cds are cheap, hand out cds full of mp3s with information about what has been done to our beloved streams.

    As the streams are shut off, open up the archives and distribute them. Show them how much worse it will get when they block off one avenue of our expression.

    Our culture should not be locked away from us and sold back to us.
    ------------------

    The ideas contained herein are free to republish by anyone not affiliated in any way shape or form with the RIAA and MPAA
    • "Our culture should not be locked away from us and sold back to us."

      I think the RIAA and MPAA's entire scheme is making what they produce "our culture". The worst thing you can do is not want what they produce...

      I haven't been able to talk with friends re: TV for the last 2 years, because I haven't bothered to hook it up. And, IMHO, I haven't missed anything.

      BBK
  • ... hasn't got much to do with broadcasting, but do as most shipping companies has done: flag out.
  • Civil disobedience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ryanwright (450832) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:18PM (#3740173)
    It's time for civil disobedience.

    It's time for someone to setup a streaming radio app that works similar to P2P. Something that can't be shut down.

    This is total bullshit. Commercial stations don't pay $500 per day. Why should Somafm?

    I know the guy running Soma watches Slashdot. What can we do to help, short of giving in and paying these mobsters? I'll do what I can for you, but I'm not sure what to do aside from continuing to sign online petitions and send letters. I sent one to my rep in congress on this subject. Received a worthless form letter in reply that refused to take a position on either side. The punk.

    I have 1Mbps of upstream bandwidth. Maybe it's time to put my private 15GB MP3 collection up on the various P2P networks? So far, I don't let anyone but my family access it, but I'm thinking it's time to reconsider...

    I know at least some of you bastards in the industry are reading this. Get a clue: The public won't stand for this greed. Swapping music on the Internet is only going to increase because of this. You people need to change your attitude, and fast - you can't prosecute us all.
    • No need for breaking the law, though it sometimes seems wrong it does offer some protection. This is a political decission which - as far as I know - a strike would be legal, it would be a political strike. Imagining every computer employee standing up for strike.
    • by Bobzibub (20561) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:57PM (#3740418)
      hmmm.. I was thinking about this...
      Suppose you set up a p2p system where each node streams 1/nth of a 'channel' or 'station'. n could be about 16 (16 'subchannels') which would bring down the load on each peer to 128/16 kbps, well within the means of every cable modem.

      Peers could be easily written in Java and spend their time discovering other peers. Your XMMS/winamp/whatever client connects to your local java client which requests and assembles n 'subchannels' into a stream. Peers do not reveal *their* sources, only other peers. That way, the true source is obscured, but more importantly, more nodes are brought in.

      Broadcasters stream to many nodes with a special arrangement/agreement. (push) Everything else is pull.

      Your java client requests a channel/subchannel from some known server or requests a node where to get a channel/subchannel . They stream to you.

      The underlying protocol would be based upon sending files, not a true music stream. These could be caputured by the local client if wanted. Information could describe overlap of two music files, messages, artist info, etc.

      1) low bandwidth for nodes ==> many nodes.
      2) dynamic hierarchy. Loose a node and the system will be able to adapt.
      3) difficult to find the true source.
      4) access to the files streamed.
      5) Of course it would stream Ogg! ; )

      What do you think?

      Cheers,
      -b

    • by WEFUNK (471506) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @08:09PM (#3740489) Homepage
      It's time for civil disobedience.

      It's time for someone to setup a streaming radio app that works similar to P2P. Something that can't be shut down.


      Not just another P2P app, but let's start seeing more P2P devices and infrastructure as well, like wireless multi-hop networks. That way even the physical network will be tough to regulate or shut down.

      It might only work for densely populated local areas at first, but if you can get around the security issues this is the logical next step in the evolution of the internet.

      The technology and the demand for streaming content is out there, if the RIAA and MPAA etc. kept shooting themselves in the foot, inventors and consumers will find another way to get what they want.
    • Here's the crap part of the whole deal. Way back when record companies paid radio stations to play content. The government said "No, no" and the radio stations stopped paying the radio stations directly. In comes the "indie", a supposedly dissinterested third party paid by the record company to "promote" their music. In turn the "indie" pays the radio station for the "privilage" of just getting to "talk" about the music. Then it's up to the radio station to decide whether or not to play the music. The funny thing is that I hear no mention of what the fees are associated with the privilage of "talking" to the radio stations and from the sound of it it depends on the music and who pays the "indie". The other problem here is that the record company continues to pay the indie for as long as that music plays within the given market. They then turn around and charge the radio station for use of their "product".

      To top it all of Hillary Rosen attempts to play the victim to it all stating "What can I do" as if she's being held hostage by the indies. "That's just the way it is" she says while she circumvents the letter of the law. The radio stations pretend that they aren't doing anything wrong, the indies just laugh while they rake in 500,000 here and 600,000 there. It's a nice tidy little cycle that the webcasters won't be included in. Can you see any of the indies going after webcasters? They work for the record companies and the record companies already have all the channels of distribution that they want, therefore there's no need for indies to go out on a limb and provide a service that noone wants to pay for. To top it off that means that the webcasters won't make the same capital that the radio stations will and therefore won't be able to come up with the cash to pay "royalties" easily.

      It's a sad sad suck-ass system when the record companies can so easily play the victim in all this.
    • by startled (144833) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @10:35PM (#3741193)
      Actually, it's time to stop listening to corporate music.

      Civil disobedience? I'm supposed to think it's worth risking prison so I can listen to major label music?

      Maybe some of you are out in the middle of nowhere, but here near San Francisco I can find all sorts of shows, unsigned artists selling their CDs for what it cost to make them, and DJs spinning tunes off indie labels that would be thrilled to have people stream their stuff over the net.

      I've stopped buying CDs from any RIAA member; hell, I basically don't buy CDs. On the one hand you clamor against the RIAA, but on the other hand you can't wean yourself from their product? Why are you encouraging artists to limit access to their work by signing with these people?

      Civil disobedience? Hmm, rather than go to jail, how about I listen to Free Music. Check out somesongs.com and songfight.com for starters.
  • Why am I reminded of the episode of The Simpsons [snpp.com] where Sideshow Bob demands that Springfield abolish television, and the government caves in under threat and all of the broadcasters shut off their transmitters?

    Brockman: [on air] And as my final newscast draws to a close, I'm reminded of a few of the events that brought me closer to you: the collapse of the Soviet Union, premium ice cream price wars, dogs that were mistakenly issued major credit cards, and others who weren't so lucky. And so, farewell. Uh, and don't forget to look for my new column in PC World magazine.

    Sideshow Bob: Success! They're giving in. Blast! I should've made more demands. Some decent local marmalade for one. Oh well, next time.

  • not ignorance... (Score:2, Informative)

    by OpenMind(tm) (129095)
    ..but conscience action. As seen in this snippet, they know they will be putting small operators out of business to make sure the RIAA gets what it wants:

    Webcasters and broadcasters asked that the Librarian reject the CARP's approach and provide them with an option to pay a rate based on a percentage of their revenues, rather than a per-performance rate.

    ...

    Finally, the CARP noted that because many webcasters are currently generating very little revenue, a percentage of revenue rate would require copyright owners to allow extensive use of their property with little or no compensation.


  • the only options (Score:5, Informative)

    by GoatPigSheep (525460) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:29PM (#3740244) Homepage Journal
    1. stop playing riaa music. This will help independant artists (such as myself) alot, but will cause people to not hear the music they want to hear at first.

    2. Don't host in the US, use overseas servers. The riaa will probably try and make their laws apply to other contries (stupid), but I doubt it will work on all countries.
    • Re:the only options (Score:3, Informative)

      by BrookHarty (9119)
      Where can I get good non-riaa streaming techno? I listen to http://www.digitallyimported.com/ [digitallyimported.com]
      every day at work, and I love it. I even started saving streams, worried that it would shut down. I would even pay a subscription if it would keep them in business. Thou at 7 cents a song, about a buck an hour is quite steep, more than my cable bill a month.
  • by HiKarma (531392) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:35PM (#3740279)
    It's important to note that these rates are the maximum a station would have to pay, which is why the RIAA thinks they are too low. After all, if you had a song, would you think $.0002 was sufficient payment for somebody to hear it?

    But all players are free to negotiate any other terms, including lower terms, and including free for bands that want to get more play for their music and don't want the revenue.

    This is a maximum because if they ask for more than the .07 or .02 cents, an internet radio station can just invoke the compulsory license and pay that lower amount.

    Think this through again. The norm for copyright law is you can't perform somebody else's copyrighted work without permission. This ruling (common in the music industry but not elsewhere) says that you don't have to ask permission, you can just pay this fixed fee. If you go get permission you can arrange any fee both parties want. This ruling came down because people could not agree on fees.

    In the end, this might mean that independent labels, which can now band together and declare lower fees for their music, dominate the airplay on internet radio stations. They might even declare free airplay for their stuff. This could mean independent labels begin to dominate the big labels on the internet.

    Already projects like the Creative Commons are defining ways for works that want to allow free play to encode it right in the file.

    Frankly, I don't think the government should be setting the price of music at all, however.

  • 7 cents per hundred wouldbe fine if they could offer a sensible service like the old my.mp3.com, or a request show, but they can't.

    Here are the terms of the licence [cornell.edu], which have lots of vague clauses about DRM type stuff that look as if they were deliberately written to be only settleable in court at great cost:
    (v) the transmitting entity cooperates to prevent, to the extent feasible without imposing substantial costs or burdens, a transmission recipient or any other person or entity from automatically scanning the transmitting entity's transmissions alone or together with transmissions by other transmitting entities in order to select a particular sound recording to be transmitted to the transmission recipient, except that the requirement of this clause shall not apply to a satellite digital audio service that is in operation, or that is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, on or before July 31, 1998;
    Is this an Anti-TiVo clause?

    (vi) the transmitting entity takes no affirmative steps to cause or induce the making of a phonorecord by the transmission recipient, and if the technology used by the transmitting entity enables the transmitting entity to limit the making by the transmission recipient of phonorecords of the transmission directly in a digital format, the transmitting entity sets such technology to limit such making of phonorecords to the extent permitted by such technology;

    viii) the transmitting entity accommodates and does not interfere with the transmission of technical measures that are widely used by sound recording copyright owners to identify or protect copyrighted works, and that are technically feasible of being transmitted by the transmitting entity without imposing substantial costs on the transmitting entity or resulting in perceptible aural or visual degradation of the digital signal, except that the requirement of this clause shall not apply to a satellite digital audio service that is in operation, or that is licensed under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission, on or before July 31, 1998, to the extent that such service has designed, developed, or made commitments to procure equipment or technology that is not compatible with such technical measures before such technical measures are widely adopted by sound recording copyright owners;

    The logic of record companies of paying thousands to get airplay on the radio, but trying extract thousands for wireplay on the net escapes me still.
    (cross-posted from my weblog [blogspot.com])
    • ... except that the requirement of this clause shall not apply to a satellite digital audio service that is in operation, or that is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, on or before July 31, 1998;

      Is this an Anti-TiVo clause?


      Sounds like it's anti XM Radio.
    • The logic of record companies of paying thousands to get airplay on the radio, but trying extract thousands for wireplay on the net escapes me still.

      They're afraid that if you broadcast digitally your listeners will record digitally and obtain a perfect copy of the material.

      Off-the-analog-radio-air recording has not been a big problem, but digital is a new world and they're scared.
  • by ryants (310088) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:37PM (#3740294)
    Over at CNN the headline is:
    Netcasters win ruling

    U.S. rules songs delivered online will be charged royalty fees at half that originally proposed.
    Here's the link. [cnn.com]

    Some victory... instead of cutting off both arms, you get to keep one. :(

  • by joshwa (24288) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:39PM (#3740315) Homepage Journal
    ... is for Hilary Rosen to get a few pies in the face [bitstorm.org]. Where's the widespread Hacktivism when we need it?!?
  • Someone mentioned the creation of a GCL or Gnu Content License not too long ago.

    Does anyone think this would be a bad idea for recording artists to implement? Would consumers still pay for full albums on CD with all the extras or would they just swap freely without honoring the artists financially at all?

    Any thoughts.

  • I've been listening to Under Sedation Live [undersedationlive.org], a talk show. They have a toll free number, and do a three hour show every Saturday night. It's really good stuff - all talk and original material. They play music in the "breaks", but it could easily be switched to all "written authorization" stuff.

    So... where does that leave them? $500, certainly, and I'd imagine that Live365 is about to go under, leaving them without a bandwidth provider. I'm thinking about offering to step in if they take care of the licensing.

    A few questions - *can* they play music from, say, MP3.com, with authorization? (Heck, I play guitar and sing - if I walked into their studio, could I play an original composition without having them have to pay?) And second - what is their fee scale?

    Y'know - it seems really stupid that they are charged for broadcasting their own material. Does this mean that CU-C-ME or Pow-Wow chats (or whatever they are nowadays - I haven't used Internet speech chat in many years) are now under this fee schedual? They are broadcasting voice... ??

    --
    Evan

  • This is bad, really bad. Internet radio is going to be turned into the same censored piece of corporate garbage which is "FM" radio.

    We need to organize to fight this. Laws can be changed.

    And, I'm not just saying "hey guys, lets send out our angry little emails, or start an online petition," that stuff rarely yields results since it is never picked up by main stream media channels. It'd be awesome if we could organize some positive rallies in California. It would be hard to keep a bunch of marching middle class, riaa hating, suburbanites out of the news.

    I'm probably going to send in this story into the guardian, the nation, as well as projectcensored.org This will be picked up an ranted about by the indi media for sure.
  • by EchoMirage (29419) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @07:54PM (#3740400)
    Even more disgusting, but certainly not suprising, is the RIAA's response [riaa.org] to the announcement, saying, "[the rate] simply does not reflect the fair market value of the music as promised by the law."

    Who's up for burning RIAA at the stake?
  • This is bullshit! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Newer Guy (520108)
    I've worked in radio and the music industry for over thirty years. Today I'm embarrassed to admit it. This is yet another exapmle of the big fish swallowing up the little ones. The broadcast industry DOES NOT HAVE to pay these rates for over the air treansmission. All they pay is ASCAP and BMI fees, which are a percentage of their gross billing. Noncommercials pay a flat rate of about $1500-$2000 per year. Also, these fees go to the composers ....NOT the RIAA as the new fees will. This fee does not benefit the musician one single bit...all it does is fatten the coffers if the 'big five' record companies. The irony is that this fee is likely to result in less music purchased, and less music broken into the marketplace...again hurting the smaller, independent companies and artists NOT the RIAA and it's ilk! Finally, here's the total arrogance of the RIAA for you: Comment of Cary Sherman, President, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) On Librarian's Decision On Internet Radio Royalty Rates June 20, 2002 "The import of this decision is that artists and record labels will subsidize the webcasting businesses of multi-billion dollar companies like Yahoo, AOL, RealNetworks and Viacom. The rate, which cannot be squared with the decision of the arbitration panel, simply does not reflect the fair market value of the music as promised by the law. This decision will certainly reinforce the steadfast opposition of copyright owners to compulsory licensing." These assholes STILL aren't happy!!! They've trashed Internet broadcasting and they STILL want more! I don't know about you, but I've purchased my LAST CD from the 'big five' record companies! I suggest that you do the same...
    • Get together with your musically-inclined buddies, pay the performance licensing fee to the composer, and re-record whatever you'd like to listen to. Release these tracks, GNU-style (with the caveat that broadcast stations still need to pay royalties to the songwriter/composer), and screw over the RIAA's designated pop-star of the year.

      Next thing ya know, people will start putting pianos back into their parlors, and buying sheet music again. One wonders if the recording industry has really thought things through and are fighting a last ditch rear-guard action to squeeze everyone while they've got a chance, or if they're still in denial...
  • by dbc (135354) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @08:10PM (#3740494)
    Seriously. I've had a lifetime of listening to recordings, and get far too little live music in my life -- and I seek it out and go. This ruling applies to recordings. But... imagine what a grand thing it would be to have an internet feed from a jam studio where musicians came to make *live* music, not Muzak. Where musicians came to make the music live and breath, to make mistakes, to laugh, to improvise meandering, soaring solos -- to share the joy that is true, live music. Why can't we have this? Recordings are so sterile, so frozen in stone. So the same-every-time. Let's have some real music.
  • I love streaming radio stations. I listen to KPIG [kpig.com] at work; it's a tiny station near where I grew up, but now hundreds of miles away. I get a great nostalgia rush listening to them again. (They also play kick-ass music.) I'd be really disappointed if they were forced off the net.

    However, the RIAA owns the music, and they can do whatever they want with it. That's how capitalism works. The only legal recourse we have is to go elsewhere for music. Listen to bands outside the RIAA stranglehold. Support the webcasters who locate these bands and stream their music. If you're a musician, avoid RIAA-controlled distribution channels and go really indie.

    It will hurt losing the stuff we already like that's locked up by the RIAA. But shit happens. Move on and make things better for the future.

  • by forii (49445) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @08:37PM (#3740624)
    This ruling does not mean the death of Internet radio, but rather the death of Internet radio in the United States. This is an important difference, as I predict that the big US radio sites will either move out of the US, or be replaced by new sites that exist outside of the United States.

    Here is what will happen:

    Internet Radio continues to grow/develop, outside of the United States.

    The number of US-based listeners continues to grow.

    Non-US based Internet Radio stations begin to generate revenue.

    US-based groups and industries begin to realize that they are missing out on a large stream of revenue/listerners, and begin to look for changes.

    Sometime in the (near) future, new laws are passed that open up the United States market for Internet Radio.

    So while I'm disgusted by the Copyright Office's decision, I have to say that I'm cautiously optimistic. Optimistic that sometime in the future people will realize what a big mistake this was.

  • I just ran the numbers, and if you're a non-commercial broadcaster (eg. most of us hobbiests) this works out to be $100.09 per listener-year (that is, one continuous listener for one year).

    While it's a lot better than the proposed rate would have been ($184 per listener-year PLUS $1000 per year in ephemeral licenses [the recommendation was for $500 in E.L., but if you dig deeply you'll discover that an ephemeral license only permitted retaining a digital copy for a period of six months...]), it's still pretty terrible.
  • by AZPhysics (561228) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @09:00PM (#3740734)
    There are other ways of getting music. Unfortunately, they are not as convenient as internet radio. First, is direct exchange. My brother let me borrow some CD's. I made some "backup" copies for him on my computer. Today, I mailed him back his CD's along with ~5 CDs I burned of stuff I had. I hope he keeps my "off-site backups" safe. ;-) I've also made back-up copies for freinds and even my mother-in-law.

    A second source of music is your local library. Virtually every town of over 3000 people in the US has a library with a collection of CDs. Usually, there is a large selection of classical CDs, which are hard to find on the internet. Your taxes have purchased them, so make yourself some backup copies.

    A third source of music is your local free performances. Your local university and high school will often have free recitals. Also, most major metropolitan areas have symphonies. Go ahead and check them out. Remember, if you have to pay for the performance, probably none of the money goes to the RIAA.

    A fourth source is free internet archives of various sorts. This is most common classical and folk as opposed to pop. One site I'd recommend for folk is Roger McGuinn's Folk Den at http://www.ibiblio.org/jimmy/folkden/ . McGuinn posts a new song, freely downloadable, every month since November of 95. Also, he testified on behalf of file sharing during the Senate hearings.

    While not a free source of income, a good thing to do is to contact your favorite independet artists. Tell them about the problems with webcasting, and the chances they have to be widely heard. Tell them to band together. Send them the adresses of your favorite webcasters. Get the word out that they can make deals with these stations. I promise to email some of my favorite indie artists, and I would encourage you to do the same.

  • by robkill (259732)
    This ruling can still be appealed in the US Court of Appeals (DC Circuit). I expect an appeal, simply because the cost of royalties for webcasting is ridiculous, even for commercial, big-corporation radio stations that simulcast. Bill Rose of Arbitron, the Nielsen of the radio industry, spells it out beautifully here [senate.gov]. Even for the big boys the royalty rate would be about %25 of their advertising revenue. Hopefully the webcasters can hold on for another appeal.
  • This is a message that I just mailed to CNN after reading the AP story on their site. You can send a quick email to your favorite news outlet, making sure that they do not just reprint the AP story.

    I realize that you are not responsible for the contents of AP stories that appear on your website, but I think that you ought to (at least) read the story before featuring a link to it on your home page (www.cnn.com).

    The 'Victory for Internet Radio' is a victory like the 'victory' that America had at Pearl Harbor in WWII. On the face of it, this was a disaster for the US Pacific Fleet, however it galvanized the US into action which led to the defeat of Japan -- a true Victory for the US.

    I suggest that the final CARP rate setting deterimination has already caused Internet broadcasters to stop broadcasting, and more will follow over the next few weeks.

    However, unless this determination gets overturned by the courts (probably unlikely given that it is people without money (internet radio) fighting people with money (RIAA)) I predict that alternative internet radio business models will arise. These models will be based on independant artists licensing their creative works at zero cost to internet radio stations (via an independant licensing agency) in return for airplay. This airplay will generate CD sales and thus the artist gets paid.

    Where does this leave the RIAA? In bed with the small number of commercial AM/FM broadcasters who see their market share dwindling.

    I know where I would invest my dollars. Do you?

  • "The final decision on webcasting rates have been published on the Library of Congress's site. To say the results are disappointing is an understatement. While the rates were effectively cut in half, that still means that to stay on the air, SomaFM will have to pay about $500 a day in fees to the RIAA. Just to expose you to new music that you wouldn't hear anywhere else. Just to help you buy more records. Do they just not get it, or is the RIAA just greedy?"

    Okay, now doesn't somafm mostly not play RIAA owned music? If so, then why would he have to pay RIAA. Also, if I make some music, I own the copyright, so I tell somafm that they can play it for free. They wouldn't need to pay the RIAA for that. And if a month from now, I sell it to RIAA then somafm would have to stop playing it, and it's not like they could make somafm pay for the time that they didn't even own the copyright.

    Seems funny that all these webcasters claim to be playing independent music. Seems to me that if they're so scared of these fees then they must be playing RIAA music without permission. And any way you slice it, that's illegal, even before CARP fees.

  • I believe the government should pay for everything. From now on, nobody will ever work. You'll just hang out and stuff, and the government will send you a hefty check each day. Little by little, people will spend the money, and it will eventually get back to the government. And then, someone will start a rival government, and people will get to choose which government they subscribe to. Eventually, there will be like 10,000 governments to choose from, and you'll get deals, like 10,000 free bucks when you sign up for a year or something like that. The next thing you know, someone will start a government to govern all the governments. And then, there will be competition in that area, so that governments get all kinds of free toasters or ice boxes or whatever when they sign up for some government-government. And then, there will be so much competition, that someone will start a government to govern all the government-governments. A hundred years down the road, every person will be the sole owner and operator of about 10 different governments of various levels and whatnot. Money will go left and right, up and down, and nobody will be able to figure out who is governing who.
  • by DanThe1Man (46872) on Thursday June 20, 2002 @11:08PM (#3741354)
    Performance Fee
    (per performance)


    If by performace they mean per song, then we are going to be hearing a lot of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by webcasters.
  • by detroitindustrial (587050) on Friday June 21, 2002 @12:07AM (#3741588) Homepage
    I run Detroit Industrial Underground [detroitindustrial.org]. My station has a 20 simultaneous listener capacity, and I've been broacasting for 3.5 years. To give you an idea of the small scale of most internet broacasts, DIU is currently ranked 222 out of around 2800 stations on the Shoutcast directory for total time spend listening (TTSL).

    Some thoughts, based on what I've read here:

    Terrestrial radio stations with webcasts are as unhappy with these rates as internet broadcasters are, and they'll be lobbying against this as well.

    Some people have said that these rates won't apply to stations which only play non-RIAA material. While common sense would suggest that, it has not been proven yet, and common sense doesn't seem to apply to anything involving the RIAA and U.S. Congress.

    Ephemeral recordings are "temporary" recordings made solely for broadcast purposes. In the case of internet radio, they're referring to MP3s. In practice, its an excuse to add another 8.8% fee on top of the per listener per song $0.0007.

    Moving outside the U.S. won't save internet radio. U.S. based Broadcasters can be tracked through ISP's and billing relationships with hosting companies. Also, other countries have licensing bodies which are just as rapacious as the RIAA. In Canada, SOCAN is pushing Tariff 22, which imposes a $0.25 per unique listener per month fee. This adds up to more than the RIAA + BMI/ASCAP/SESAC fees, and forces listener tracking/subscriptions for auditing purposes. See the Stop Tariff 22 [rantradio.com] website for the details.

    The battle isn't lost yet. On the Shoutcast list, we're working on our response to this. In the meantine, check out Save Internet Radio [saveinternetradio.org] and the Radio and Internet Newsletter [kurthanson.com]. Finally, write your reps in Congress, and include your snail mail addresss so they know you're a constituent.
  • by Splork (13498) on Friday June 21, 2002 @12:36AM (#3741685) Homepage
    the broadcaster has no need or reason to know how many people are receiving the stream as they only send out one copy of the data. granted with the ISP monopoly controlled by media companies today its doubtful we'll ever see multicast to the edge of the network. :(
  • R.I.P. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phalse phace (454635) on Friday June 21, 2002 @04:33AM (#3742223)
    Darn, SomaFM [somafm.com] just went out.

    Their website reads: "SomaFM: killed by the RIAA. June 20, 2002. With CARP royalties of $500 a DAY, SomaFM cannot continue broadcasting."

  • by jejones (115979) on Friday June 21, 2002 @10:17AM (#3743346) Journal
    Anyone care to bet on whether, once the per-listener/per-song fees are finally in and all the appeals over, the RIAA will fire up scads of tasks to suck down webcast streams and run the meter up as high as they can?

    (For that matter, over in the Unintended Consequences Dept., look for changes to webcasting software to force the streams to start on song boundaries and do something--maybe pop-up windows à la NetZero--to make sure there's a human at the other end actually listening. Once the per-listener/per-song fees are in place, webcasters will really not like you if you forget and leave XMMS running while you're on your two-week trip to Australia...)

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