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NPR Takes First Step To Fight Internet Royalties 135

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the not-so-fast dept.
jmcharry sent in an article that opens, "After the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decided to drastically increase the royalties paid to musicians and record labels for streaming songs online, National Public Radio (NPR) will begin fighting the decision on Friday, March 16 by filing a petition for reconsideration with the CRB panel."
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NPR Takes First Step To Fight Internet Royalties

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  • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:35PM (#18369461)
    Does this mean that a song will cost $0.06 instead of $0.05 at allofmp3.com?
    • Re:Higher prices (Score:5, Informative)

      by CapnRob (137862) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:39PM (#18369503)
      No, it means that your NPR station will be charged $120,000 a year to stream their broadcasts, when they're charged $20,000 for over-the-air broadcasting. But thanks for playing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MightyYar (622222)
        Heh, I was trying to be funny. Next time I'll use a <sarcasm> tag, but a joke isn't as funny if you have to 'splain it.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by soloport (312487)
          Heh, I was trying to be funny. Next time I'll use a tag

          Why? Does that make the un-funny magically funny? I'll have to try it.

          Nope. Still not funny. :-p
          • by soloport (312487)
            Woa! Look! The magically disappearing tag. Ok, they're good for something. ;-) [posts plain-text this time]
          • by MightyYar (622222)
            It wouldn't have made my post funny, but it would have avoided this thread.
      • by Jack Action (761544) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:54PM (#18369675)

        Internet stations that stream almost completely music are being saddled with outrageously usurious fees.

        Soma FM [somafm.com] predicts their fees will rise from $20,000 today to $600,000 for 2006, and $1,000,000 in 2007.

        Loosing stations like Soma would suck. I listen to a little bit of normal broadcast radio (usually just the urban hit station to pick up the occasional deserving top 20 hit), but otherwise its internet only.

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by dbIII (701233)
          There really is a radio station called Soma FM? Somebody who read "Brave New World" and decided on the name is laughing at you all.
          • by bfischer (648685)
            www.somafm.com - very good stuff.
        • by abshnasko (981657) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @10:04PM (#18370963)

          Soma FM predicts their fees will rise from $20,000 today to $600,000 for 2006, and $1,000,000 in 2007


          "Today". I do not think that word means what you think it means

        • by RingDev (879105) on Friday March 16, 2007 @09:45AM (#18374843) Homepage Journal
          FTFA: "The suggested new rates would increase to $.0008 per-play for 2006 (retroactively), $.0011 for 2007, $.0014 in 2008, $.0018 in 2009 and $.0019 for 2010"

          Okay, so if we figure each time you play a song you owe $0.002 (rounding up for easy numbers), and on average you play 10 songs an hour (average 4 minutes each with 20 minutes for commercials/station ID), you're paying $0.02/hour. Over the entire day (and night) $0.48. Over an entire year $170.88... So how do they get from $170.88 to $120,000 (or the millions that some stations are claiming)?

          I'm not saying anyone is lying about the cost, I just don't see how the costs are being calculated, anyone care to explain?

          -Rick
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            anyone care to explain?

            Sure, you're failing to take in to account 3 things:

            1) The costs are per listener. That's $170/year/listener, now figure they have over 10k listeners...

            2) These stations don't currently run commercials, largely because they pay so little. Their calculations are done without running commercials(16 songs/hour), and the calculations with commercials come up with revenue being woefully short.

            3) This isn't factoring in other costs. Employees, bandwidth, etc.

            • "1) The costs are per listener. That's $170/year/listener, now figure they have over 10k listeners..."

              That would explain it a bit better. Thanks. And if you're going to post something worth reading... don't be a coward!

              -Rick
              • by Reziac (43301) *
                Slashdot has developed a nasty habit of randomly logging me out, in fact it did so when I went to this story's comment page. I always log back in to post, but it's annoying enough (requires several extra steps to post) that I expect some people don't bother and just post AC.

                I'd have modded the parent post Informative instead, but I couldn't get it to log me back in for this page, even tho I have mod points today... geesh!!

          • by Sinical (14215)
            Perhaps it's per listener/connection. Also, so far as I know, Soma has no advertising. Revised math:

            365 * 24 * 60 = 525,600 minutes a year
            4 minutes a song -> 131,400 songs/year
            131,400 * $0.02 = $2,628 listener/year

            Say 1k listeners -> $2.628 million a year
            • by RingDev (879105)
              Close, but your numbers are off. It's $0.002, 2 tenths of a cent, per song. So 1k users geting 24-7 music will cost you $262,800. To be fair, I think I type-o'd a 0 when I posted that math above.

              -Rick
      • by loid_void (740416) *
        Skull and Cross Bones Alert - Greed begets pirates, so more greed begets more pirates streaming music; and then it really gets "X-xciten."
    • Is the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) organization the paid for (via proxy) by the RIAA, or the RIAA private DMCA persecution and enforcement organization?

      This is as fascinating as other, newly legal, global organized crime [AKA: corporatist/plutocrat] activities.

      RIAA wants more money ... they get the right agencies/organizations to up the rates. These organizations and copyright don't represent or protect the artist they exist to exploit the artist and promote their corporatist/plutocrat gluttony for power
  • by isaac (2852) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:39PM (#18369511)
    Funny NPR should be speaking up for the little guy now. They were the ones who in 2000 put the nails in the coffin of low-power community FM broadcasting by joining forces with the NAB to lobby Congress. (References a gogo [google.com]).

    NPR's only interested now that commercial radio is about to shut down their streaming operations (which are far more popular than commercial simulcast streams). Pardon me if I fail to shed a tear for NPR this time around, even if I also reject the CRB's new webcasting royalty rates.

    NPR, you'll never see a fucking dime from me until you stand up for real community radio and reverse your stand on LPFM. I used to be a regular contributor to local public radio stations before your shameless whoring in 2000.

    -Isaac
    • I'm sure all the NPR execs that read this site will think twice before crossing an anonymous web post.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by isaac (2852)

        I'm sure all the NPR execs that read this site will think twice before crossing an anonymous web post.

        I'm not going to convince anyone at NPR of anything by ranting on /. - but if I raise the issue and others of like mind read about NPR's tryst with the NAB, maybe others will stop contributing to NPR stations until NPR changes their stance. Maybe some of these people will, like myself, be moved to write NPR during the semi-annual beg-a-thons to explain why they've stopped giving. Maybe, eventually, this i

        • by Deagol (323173)
          Yup. I stopped donating that same year. As much as I love public broadcasting, I can't back them up any more until they do a 180 on the low power radio thing. Their stance on LPFM seemed so counter to their over-all mission, I have to wonder what their real rationale was.
      • by swm (171547) <swmcd@world.std.com> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:09PM (#18370275) Homepage
        OK, here's one that's signed.

        Why I no longer support NPR
        http://world.std.com/~swmcd/steven/rants/NPR.html [std.com]
      • I'm sure all the NPR execs that read this site will think twice before crossing an anonymous web post.

        Well, if they're as swayed by his user ID as I am, they'll listen.

    • So what was wrong with not wanting interference all over their signal?
      • by isaac (2852) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:32PM (#18369995)

        So what was wrong with not wanting interference all over their signal?


        LPFM stations were to be held to the exact same technical standards re: interference as (IRONY ALERT) the very same low-power translator stations used by NPR affiliates to repeat their own signals. The difference is that LPFM stations were allowed to originate content, rather than simply retransmit it. I don't see how NPR could raise the interference issue in earnest. No - this was about competition for donation dollars.

        -Isaac

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Actually this was supposed to be fixed with S 2686 [freepress.net] which was a huge megabill including provisions for net neutrality and opening up the spectrum for community internet. It also had some nasty DRM provisions. Thankfully it died near the end of last Congress but it will come up again. There's just too much going on in the telecommunications area for them to ignore. Watch for it. It might even be bigger than DMCA.
        • Hard to imagine a lot of LPFMs competing directly with NPR for money. These are mostly small college radio stations, community / volunteer programs and vanity broadcasting. I give to NPR *AND* my college and to the local charities. The vast majority of donations to NPR are the standard $35, which likely isn't stopping anyone from giving something to others.

          Why did I mention college? We set up the low power station at our college in 1979. The field survey was challenging due to the terrain, but we were
    • by Guuge (719028)
      Since when does LPFM represent the little guy? As far as I'm concerned, it was in its coffin and buried long before 2000.
    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @10:05PM (#18370969) Homepage Journal
      While I in no way want to denigrate the importance of the right of a person to broadcast the latest cocktail recipe to 10 of his or her closest friends, and in fact feel that low power radio stations are a basic means of insuring that the public airwaves remain public, the villain in this story is not NPR or any other volunteer run donation funded radio stations. By definition, these donations funded radio stations serve the people, because the people care enough to actually donate funds and time to these stations, as opposed to commercial stations that which may serve no public purpose, or a LPFm station which may only serve the purpose of a single person.

      The reason that we do not have room for LPFM stations is that the FCC over-licensed the commercial bandwidth, and did not leave enough in reserve for station that verifiably serve a public purpose. The commercial stations then managed to frame the argument so that the public would complain not about the over-licensing of redundant commercial interests, but about the public stations enacting a protectionist stand. The public stations have to be protectionist. No one is threatening to remove a commercial license, and most commercial stations can afford to increase their power. In fact, by putting forth such a arguments one is effect lobbying for the pure commercialization of the airwaves, leaving no room for public radio, much less LPFM.

      The issue is greater than LPFM, greater than NPR, greater than Pacifca, greater than the ACN or whatever your favorite Christian network is. Such stations have limited funds and loads of enemies. On a crowded dial, it would be all too easy to create a network of LPFM transmitters that would block the signals of such public stations. Again, I am not saying that NPR is correct in it's actions. I am not generating a scary scenario so to use fear to move people to my position. All I am saying is that the dial is crowded. In some places, there is a scant half megahertz between stations. In some markets a single entity owns much of the commercial licenses. In some markets, the exact same single is broadcast over multiple commercial stations. There is enough bandwidth available for public, commercial, semi-commercial, and LPFM. The problem is that FCC does not take the public airwaves seriously, and allows the private corporations to do whatever they like. Then the private corporations have enough media access so that people believe that it is the public radio fault.

      • by kthejoker (931838)
        Uh, we *do* have room for LPFM. Look up "spectrum efficiency", or better yet, Read this article [gmu.edu] (PDF!)

        The idea of a crowded dial is an artificial and archaic one. There's no reason we can't have thousands more low-power FM stations than we currently do. And NPR did work hard to kill this. My university's radio station lost a chance at an LPFM license due to this, so yes, I am going to hold it against them.

        On the other hand, CRB is a fucking joke and I hope every member on the panel gets herpes.
        • ... I hope every member on the panel gets herpes.

          I'd hold out for a resistant strain of gonorrhea.
  • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:40PM (#18369523) Homepage Journal
    I guess CmdrTaco got hit with a royalty request, because I got "Nothing to see here..."
  • For NPR, which runs off of the contributions of it's listeners, this will put a severe dent in it's finances.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Seumas (6865)
      Man, no kidding. How are they going to spread the increased costs to all six of their listeners?! That will suck for them.
      • by magicchex (898936)
        I know you're kidding, but around here at least, NPR is solidly the most popular station among the people I know and have talked to about radio. Could be partly that our local station, WUOM, is better than most NPR stations, which has translated into greater popularity than most NPR stations. The station where my parents live for instance, WKAR, I tend to avoid. Luckily, WUOM's signal is strong enough that even when I'm visiting my parents who live about 60 miles away I get it loud and clear. Are NPR statio
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Seumas (6865)
          I'd love to listen to NPR more often, but it really just makes me want to take a nap. Too much new-age crap. And, really, I feel about the same listening to NPR as I feel when I'm forced to watch Bill O'Reilly. Perhaps not quite that bad. But they do replay the same content countless times until you've nearly memorized every word. And as worldly as I would like to be, I really don't care about organic wall-paper makers in a remote Irish village that are saving their money to refurbish the town well. Or, on
          • by magicchex (898936)
            I guess at least some part of this must depend on your specific station. WUOM is basically news only, no music (a huge draw for me compared to other NPR stations), and it rarely repeats. I can listen for most of the day and find it interesting and entertaining in terms of news, especially the technology and science news that I find most interesting. Throughout the night, from around 10pm maybe to 6am maybe (not exactly sure of the times) they play a direct feed of the BBC world news, live, which I love for
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      this will put a severe dent in it's finances
      Dude! Your ability with logic would put even Mr Spock to shame!
    • by servoled (174239)
      Don't forget government grants and commercials or as NPR prefers to call them, "underwriting announcements".
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by siglercm (6059)

      I've only donated to public radio for vanity promotional statements since they received the $200 million Kroc bequest [npr.org] to their endowment fund. I'm not a finance expert, but at some point their costs should be completely covered by their endowment annuities. So many charities are in much greater need.

  • I for one am glad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:43PM (#18369557) Journal
    that someone with public interest is starting to yell. I listen to Internet radio only these days. I'm not wanting the RIAA to send me letters of any kind, and standard radio SUCKS thanks to corporate radio. I support the stations that I listen to because the play the music I like, music that I cannot hear on broadcast radio. Now, the RIAA wants to put the only source of music that is worth listening to out of business??? WTF! Broadcast radio will end up being ALL talk radio.

    I hope that this brings the whole thing to public attention in a way that is bad for the RIAA in general. This stranglehold that they have on music distribution will end up killing the music business as we have known it. Perhaps that is a good thing, I don't know, but I can say that from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to see the RIAA legally squeezed for monopolistic practices somehow. Yes, I know its not likely, but they do need slapped down hard.
    • by saskboy (600063)
      Recently the Payola scandal most recently prosecuted was settled, and Clear Channel and CBS and other stations that have ruined small town radio, have agreed to play non-RIAA content. The trouble is, I don't know if they can get away doing it all in the wee hours of the morning.
    • Following the money on this one does not lead straight to the RIAA. The people who are threatened by internet radio are the traditional FM broadcasters and now Sirius and XM in the satellite radio industry.

      FM is fueled by big corporate advertising dollars and payola.
      Satellite radio is fueled by subscriptions.

      Internet radio has a mix of the above and an abundance of free stations sponsored voluntarily by their listeners. Now close your eyes and imagine a world where every car is able to connect to internet
    • How would you suggest that musicians who record music get paid?
      • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:25PM (#18370367) Journal
        There have been no shortage of people that want to help them out. There are no shortage of companies that want to help sell their music. There are millions of people selling stuff online without the help of the MPAA or RIAA.

        It has been shown with reasonable efficacy that most artists do not make money from record sales, they make it from touring mostly. Courtney Love had a great rant about that. People do want to buy music they like, but the problem is that they mostly like 'popular' music which is made popular by the 'music industry' because the control the creation and distribution of music/videos.

        If that control was broken and dismantled then spread across a much larger group of people and companies, it would represent competition, and create more content, not stifle it. The Internet and digital age is here, bringing with it many opportunities. If MP3 online stores were to become focal points for electronic distribution/sales it would make the whole industry more competative. Music would be priced better, more of it would be available.

        Additionally, and more to the point, Internet based radio is now what the radio broadcasting industry used to be before the RIAA members re-arranged it to suit themselves. These same Internet radio stations can front the sales/distribution of music/video media as well.

        If the price of a CD was only $7.95USD there would be little point in piracy for many people. If you could get that music at reasonable prices, free of DRM, it would be a booming business without the deficit of having to line the pockets of the current big players in the music industry.

        There are hundreds of ways to re-organize the music industry, but the only successful ones I can think of do not include music distributors continuing to get rich while artists do not. There are far too few artists who actually do benefit from the RIAA, despite what we are told to believe. For every artist they do support there are ten more they do not.

        If that is not bad enough, the RIAA decides (more or less) what we get to listen to, which band becomes popular... in fact, they have way too much influence on the music industry. The fact that I and many other people no longer have any use for broadcast radio because of the ruination they are bringing on their own industry is the reason they need to go. They ARE ruining the future possibilities of budding artists even as we write on /.

        Its time for other people to share in the control and management of the music industry. There is no evidence that the current regime is doing anything but destroying the industry for their own gain.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phaggood (690955)
        > How would you suggest that musicians who record music get paid?

        According to this [senate.gov] artist's Senate testimony from 2002, by selling t-shirts.

        Therefore, most artists go into debt to make albums. In twelve years of making records, I have never recouped or received a royalty check, even though many of my records have gone into profit. I discovered early on that there's little money to be made from recording albums, and I learned to place my musical aspirations alongside more practical realities in ord
      • by Jon_S (15368)
        Why can't they be paid the same way they are paid on broadcast radio. Right now (even before this royalty increase), internet radio pays more money to the labels than the broadcast stations [saveourinternetradio.com]. All they are asking for is no more increases.
  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:49PM (#18369633)
    It's not like they are profiting from playing the songs. They're funded with public money already, so the payments for these royalties are going straight from our tax dollars to the music labels. Congress should just exempt them from royalty payments altogether via legislation--problem solved. In fact that would be a net win for taxpayers, since we'd get the same public service at a lower cost.
    • It's not like they are profiting from playing the songs.

      The CRB specifically noted that they don't care what your revenues are -- all they cared about was making sure that the recording artists got "fairly" compensated for the use of their songs. That's why they shifted away from the revenue-based payment model to the performance-based one.

      Congress should just exempt them from royalty payments altogether via legislation

      I disagree; there is no reason to exempt a certain class of stations from paying f

    • NPR is paying for songs. The government gives money to NPR to pay for the songs. So your next logical step is for the government to decide it doesn't want to pay anymore and just take the songs for free? As much as I'd like that in the case of RIAA, I don't think it will go over that well.

      Maybe one day when we get over all this IP crap.
    • Congress should just exempt them from royalty payments altogether via legislation--problem solved. In fact that would be a net win for taxpayers, since we'd get the same public service at a lower cost.

      1) Pass law declaring all musicians are Public Servants
      2) Stop paying creators and workers
      3) Profit!

      Interesting suggestion, but I'd rather see...

      1) Halt misappropriation of taxpayer monies
      2) Defund government funded political propaganda
      3) Freedom!

      Thanks for the offer, but I can decide whom I p

      • by Kelson (129150) *
        If NPR were "government funded political propaganda," wouldn't you expect it to be more positive in its portrayal of the government and government policies?
    • by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:18PM (#18370317) Homepage Journal

      Actually, NPR doesn't get much public money [npr.org]:

      NPR supports its operations through a combination of membership dues and programming fees from over 800 independent radio stations, sponsorship from private foundations and corporations, and revenue from the sales of transcripts, books, CDs, and merchandise. A very small percentage -- between one percent to two percent of NPR's annual budget -- comes from competitive grants sought by NPR from federally funded organizations, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. (emphasis added)

      As for the stations themselves:

      On average, public radio stations (including NPR Member stations) receive the largest percentage of their revenue (34%) from listener support, 24% from corporate underwriting and foundations, and 13% from CPB allocations.

      National Public Radio is public in the sense of being a public service, not in the sense of being primarily funded by tax dollars.

      • Public money can only be considered private money, if you launder it
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering [wikipedia.org]

        1) Taxpayers pay out nearly 500 million a year
        2) Politians redistribute it to the CPB
        3) CPB distributes it to numerous stations
        4) Stations buy programming from NPR
        5) NPR claims most income is private, and not public supported

        I think it's time to establish the seperation of News and State.
        • by Kelson (129150) *

          And if those stations only get 13% of their funding from CPB, as stated, that means at maximum NPR gets 15% of its money from CPB, directly or through member stations' dues. Less, actually -- according to the 2005 NPR Annual Report (it's a PDF on the link cited in my previous post), 39% of NPR's revenue for that year came from station programming fees.

          So that's 13% of 39%, or 5.1% of the total. Factor in the 6% of stations' funding that comes from state and local governments -- again that's 6% of that 3

    • Because non-profit organizations have to pay for everything else. If Wikipedia could somehow get its bandwidth for free, it wouldn't have to do funding drives very often at all. But that's not fair, since bandwidth really does cost money, and somebody's got to pay for it, and the way it's always been done is that non-profits pay for their fair share, just like everyone else. I suppose one could make the distinction that IP doesn't cost money to duplicate, unlike real services or real property, but as far
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      They're funded with public money already, so the payments for these royalties are going straight from our tax dollars to the music labels

      Do you ever actually listen to "public" radio? A few hours of listening during drive time here in the DC area will have you hearing commercials from large associations, corporations, and other underwriting entities (as well as vanity donors) that want the exposure. If public radio's use of licensed material is a part of what brings the audience that those advertisers wa
  • Appealing to an industry controlled board isnt going to accomplish anything. Not for the little guy. NPR might catch a break, thats about it.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @06:57PM (#18369693) Journal
    And I was almost embarassed by the judges so clearly fellating the content industries' expert (Dr. Pelcovits) over his testimony. They took his (bought and paid for) recommendations hook, line and sinker. The only thing the content folks didn't get was a 25% premium on content sent to "wireless" users (they must be friends with Verizon), and then only because the expert didn't suggest that there was sufficient marketplace forces to determine the extent of premium that should be applied to portable devices. The judges repeatedly called bullshit on practically evey point of the webcaster's expert. Maybe they needed a better expert than this Adam Jaffe, or perhaps just someone more persuasive - say, someone with tickets to the final 4, an available hunting lodge, and a few cases of single malt.

    I'm a bit surprised that there was little to no discussion concerning the relative changes in the fee structure - and that the content industry basically got every cent they asked for (except the 25%).

    I don't know the players, but I'd say that there was some pretty significant bias in the panel before the parties even began to talk.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Plekto (1018050)
      The sad thing is that this oney-grab by the recording industry will do noting except move all of th internet radio stations ofshore. All of the potintial sales and possible deals, plus the money they currently pay - poof - gone.

      Talk about myopic. I can see a board meeting a few months ago:
      "Hey I have an idea! Let's raise the fees for internet streaming to a level that forces them all to go out of business or move offshore!" Somebody needs to be fired for this nonsense, since they way that you stimulate
  • this law doesn't just affect over the air radio stations, but all streaming web casts. this is a bad deal, and it is supposed to be applied retro actively to 2006 (which will basically put all streaming radio stations out of business).

    you can write your congressman or representative here [congress.org].

    for more info on how this will affect streaming radio, check out www.SaveOurInternetRadio.com [saveourinternetradio.com]. i found out about this through soma fm's news section [somafm.com] (soma fm is an internet radio station i listen to, i am not affiliated

  • Reading the article, it's stated that: The suggested new rates would increase to $.0008 per-play for 2006 (retroactively), $.0011 for 2007, $.0014 in 2008, $.0018 in 2009 and $.0019 for 2010.

    Then it states: By our estimates, WXPN could be paying about $1 million a year in royalties under the CRB's ruling.

    To rack one million bucks in one year, wouldn't you have to play 555 million songs in that one year period? That's about 63,000 per minute. Wow! Those must be some really short songs.
    • by lowerlogic (978369) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:22PM (#18370353)
      thats $0.0008 per song _per listener_. For example, if you have, say, 10,000 listeners, you pay about $1 million a year:
      10,000 listeners * $0.0008 * 15 songs/hour * 24 hours/day * 365 days/year= $1,051,200.00 a year
    • Sorry, that's 1000 or so per minute, 60,000 or so per hour. My math, not so good either.
  • NPR has been on a downhill slope ever since certain parties decided to put a political appointee as its head rather than a more neutral candidate. Just as John Bolton was appointed to be the US ambasador to the UN despite his dislike of the organization, NPR's current head is doing damage in much the same way due to his own political allegiances.
  • It's nice to see how the record industry treats those who actually *want* to pay for the music they use. Raising the fees 20x - 50x doesn't seem to be the way to treat those trying to do the right thing. And, almost unnoticed, with this decision they've established a system where they get royalties per each play *and* per each listener which I don't think has been possible before.
  • Why Play at all? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Emperor Cezar (106515) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @10:33PM (#18371133) Journal
    My question is, can a station not play the music these licenses cover? Kinda like "podsafe" music. Maybe it's time for NPR to start using Creative Commons music exclusively. If enough do it, artist will begin to release more under CC licenses.
    • by belg4mit (152620)
      It depends on the genre, it can be very difficult. It's probably doable for a classical
      station. For my own favorite, indie on 3WK [3wk.com], it's painful. The owners
      would be happy to do so if there were sufficient material available however, they don't
      have the time or resources to actually track down 100% "free" content. In addition,
      they'd really like to be able to play the occasional track from Modest Mouse or Beck,
      as their mood suits them.
  • Another RIAA Ripoff (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @10:38PM (#18371169) Homepage Journal

    the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decided to drastically increase the royalties paid to musicians and record labels for streaming songs online

    The new streaming royalty rates don't increase the royalties paid to musicians and record labels, they just increase the royalties collected from streamers. The RIAA (ie SoundScan, and predecessors/competitors BMI & ASCAP) have never paid all of the collected royalties to its rightful owners. Instead, the collection agencies keep it for themselves. I hope you're not surprised.

    So it's excellent news that NPR is fighting this move. I hope NPR's entry also encourages other well-positioned orgs to complain. These new rates completely eliminate hobbyist and personal streaming to friends, by keeping the $500 per year minimum fee that is now equal to the per-play fee for supporting many dozens of simultaneous listeners. That minimum should be totally discarded, even more important than lowering the arbitrarily high (but still somewhat affordable, until it rises again over the next couple/few years) per-play rates that also squeeze out noncommercial and small commercial webcasters.

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