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Copyright Board Lawyer Responds On Pandora's End 174

Posted by kdawson
from the cutting-off-the-air-supply dept.
mattnyc99 writes "A month ago we talked about the impending death of streaming music site Pandora thanks to a very backwards fight over royalties. PopMech follows up with an article that, besides noting how insane it is that Pandora has to pay record labels for the bad songs that users skip, also gets the (three-member) Copyright Royalty Board to try and defend itself about why the government is determining royalty rates for the music industry. Quoting: 'It was uninvited,' says Richard Strasser, senior attorney for the Copyright Royalty Board. 'I don't think anybody was jumping up and down with joy in the government that they have this responsibility, but the former systems just weren't working out.'" No one seems to be trying to defend or explain why Internet radio is being hit so much harder than satellite or broadcast.
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Copyright Board Lawyer Responds On Pandora's End

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  • Well, hell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @05:43PM (#25031377)

    Why doest Pandora just strike up with indie studios and go mono e mono with musicians for play rights?

    And if Congress is forcing internet radio companies to pay to some RIAA-hole, countersue them under RICO. After all, they're pooling their money. And isnt payola illegal?

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Screw that; why doesn't Pandora just pack up and move to the Bahamas or Grand Cayman? They'd get a nice, tropical island location (though they'd have to worry a little more about hurricanes), and they wouldn't have to worry about this RIAA silliness.

      • I second this one, why don't they just pack up and move somewhere out of the RIAA's reach?
        It's the internet after all, where doesn't matter too much as long as you have a decent pipe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clang_jangle (975789) *
      mono e mono

      Unless you were referring to simulated stereo, you mean "mano a mano".

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by p0gue (1110213)

        mono e mono

        Unless you were referring to simulated stereo, you mean "mano a mano".

        "Mono a mono" means "monkey to monkey". Fitting if you ask me, considering we're talking about government regulators and corporate attorneys.

    • Re:Well, hell (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @06:17PM (#25031771) Journal

      Why doest Pandora just strike up with indie studios and go mono e mono with musicians for play rights?

      Because the demand for indie music is dwarfed by the demand for big-label music. I know I'd stop listening to Pandora most of the time if they stopped offering music from the 70s and 80s that I listen to the most.

      And if Congress is forcing internet radio companies to pay to some RIAA-hole, countersue them under RICO. After all, they're pooling their money. And isnt payola illegal?

      Please explain exactly how the RIAA could be prosecuted under RICO. I don't mean to pick on you, but I often see remarks that the RIAA should be prosecuted under RICO, and I have yet to see a clear analysis of how exactly they violate RICO laws. And as for payola, this is the opposite of payola. The big labels are not paying for airtime.

      What I'd like to see is an anti-trust suit against SoundExchange. We won't see one, of course, because it'd be political suicide to take on the RIAA when they own the political system.

      What I'd really like to see is a retreat from fascism (call it corporatism if you like), but that sure as hell isn't happening any time soon.

      • Re:Well, hell (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @09:40PM (#25033735) Homepage

        If Pandora used their algorithms point you to indie music
        that you are likely to want to buy, they could very well
        completely sabotage the RIAA entirely.

        An indie-centric version of Pandora would be quite cool actually...

      • by macraig (621737)

        What I'd like to see is an anti-trust suit against SoundExchange. We won't see one, of course, because it'd be political suicide to take on the RIAA when they own the political system.

        Dennis Kucinich will do it, then. He's already committed political suicide in the last year, driving the sword in several times. He may not have much time left... better ask him quick.

    • Re:Well, hell (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Firehed (942385) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @06:41PM (#25032031) Homepage

      Yes, payola is illegal. It's also standard operating procedure, and nobody gives a damn that it happens (or nobody in a position to do anything, at least).

      And let's face it - Pandora wouldn't be nearly as successful as it has been if it could only play indie music. Say what you want about quality, but there's a tremendously larger audience for mainstream music, pretty much by definition (now technically mainstream and indie aren't mutually exclusive, but it tends to work out that way more often than not).

    • Why doest Pandora just strike up with indie studios and go mono e mono with musicians for play rights?

      And if Congress is forcing internet radio companies to pay to some RIAA-hole, countersue them under RICO.

      I don't believe it works like that. If you run a commercial non-interactive radio station, you pay royalties to an organization like SoundExchange*. It doesn't seem to matter if you're playing music created/produced by someone who is not a member of SoundExchange - you still have to pay them - so going i

      • Sound Exchange (Score:5, Informative)

        by tobiah (308208) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @08:00PM (#25032927)

        If you go to the SoundExchange website, they have a list of thousands of musicians for whom they collected revenue but have not contacted them for payment. Their right to those funds expires after a certain period of time, and SoundExchange would keep 50% in any case.
        In most case musicians would prefer to have their music broadcast as widely as possible. It is possible to opt out of representation by SoundExchange, but then the guidelines are written so that they have to waive ALL rights to revenue from that track. They can also make exceptions for particular webcast sites, which is made quite difficult and challenged aggressively.
        One exception is polka music, a group representing American polka music negotiated a broad agreement with SoundExchange that polka stations don't have to pay any revenues.

        • by BlueStrat (756137)

          I wonder how SoundExchange determines what has been played and how often. Do they monitor the stations? If so, maybe internet radio stations could require a small monthly fee for providing the constant connection to SoundExchange. Maybe something like an administrative fee or 'constant-connect' fee paid in advance that just happens by coincidence to roughly equal what SoundExchange demands in royalties. They say that the stations aren't properly monetizing their business, so this could be part of a new rate

        • One exception is polka music, a group representing American polka music negotiated a broad agreement with SoundExchange that polka stations don't have to pay any revenues.

          Hrm, I wonder what percentage of your playlist has to be polka to be considered a polka station? 23 hours of Hendrix Guitar Solos (extended edition), then 1 hour of Polka at 3am?

          Or just declare yourself a polka station, and get yourself a list of Soundexchange IP addresses. If any of them connect to your station, it fires up Channel 2 (a

    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @07:00PM (#25032287)

      Thanks to Soundexchange. [wikipedia.org]

      You have to pay royalties to the RIAA for any music you broadcast. Even if the artists you are playing are not RIAA members. They can, however, become RIAA members and get their precollected royalties, of course.

      And no, I'm not bullshitting you. It's actually law. Here's the original Slashdot thread about it. [slashdot.org]

      • I find myself thinking about this in the same way I poke at a bad tooth to find out all the grimy horror.

        If I write and record my own music myself would I have to pay Soundexchange to play it on my own internet radio station then sign up with them to get back half the money?

        • Yes, you would. After paying a fee to become an RIAA member. Of course.

          It's unreal.

          In your example, the RIAA's argument is that they are - on your behalf and without you asking them to - protecting you (the artist) from you (the broadcaster). And taking their cut both ways, when you (the broadcaster) pay the royalties of which they get their cut, and when you (the artist) have to pay the fee to become a member to get your royalties and further support their efforts. They effectively have put a unive

          • If you negotiated a deal directly with the copyright owner, you would not have to go through sound-exchange. If you had specific signed contracts with each artist (or whomever reprisents the artist), you could arrange payment directly, and, no, you wouldn't have to pay sound exchange, unless there was an artist on your station you haven't had permission from.
            • From the initial story: [dailykos.com]

              Even if you do own the copyright to your own recording of your own song, SoundExchange will collect Internet radio royalties for your song even if you don't want them to do so.

              If you could please provide a citation where a contract overrides Soundexchange's legalized extortion? If it exists I'd like to see it.

    • by Kymermosst (33885)

      "mono e mono"

      Mano a mano [wsu.edu].

      What's really funny is that "mono e mono" in Spanish means something like "monkey and monkey."

  • Pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @05:45PM (#25031391) Homepage Journal
    I have been listening to Pandora, discovering new artists, and had begun to buy music again (most of my music collection is CDs bought in the Eighties). Guess I'll just go back to listening to my 'oldies' - I can't be bothered to keep fighting the music industry to accept my money.
    • Re:Pity (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sribe (304414) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @06:10PM (#25031695)

      You wouldn't be alone. I stopped buying CDs in the early 90s; just had no source of inspiration for finding new music anymore. Someone recently showed my Pandora, and that was actually my first thought: find new music and start collecting again. Oh well, I'm older now, and wine is actually quite enjoyable to collect (& eventually consume) even though it's more expensive ;-)

    • Re:Pity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @06:20PM (#25031805)

      I have been listening to Pandora, discovering new artists, and had begun to buy music again

      Please consider checking RIAA Radar [riaaradar.com] when buying music that you find through Pandora. When you pay for content published on RIAA labels, you are literally paying people to fight against your interests as a music fan.

      If people would simply stop rewarding stupidity, the RIAA would melt like the penny-dreadful movie villains they are.

      • Re:Pity (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @06:28PM (#25031881)
        That is assuming that you are buying new music. if you buy used CDs you aren't supporting the RIAA at all, while still being "legal".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Firehed (942385)

        Most people's options suck. The majority of music I like is under an RIAA label, and that's true for almost everyone. Either I steal it (bad), pay for it and support the RIAA (definitely bad) even though I'm _slightly_ supporting the artist (definitely good), or I go without it entirely (bad).

        Unfortunately, I'm not giving up the music. So I either have to steal it (and risk getting sued) or have to support the very organization that spends all of its time working against me and itself. Which would you s

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Adambomb (118938)

          You present the problem that many find themselves in, but thats merely because you're working off the assumption that there isn't much non-riaa controlled music out there (there's lots, its just not as easy to browse). Granted, it's not publicized as well but there are a lot of good suggestions in this older thread [slashdot.org].

          People often forget the option of searching for independent groups for genres they enjoy and paying the group (good) without it going anywhere near the RIAA (also good). Remember if you find your

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Which would you suggest?

          One possibility is buying "carbon offsets." For every $10 you give to an RIAA label, give another $10 to the EFF or a similar organization that stands up for consumer rights.

        • If pirating it and donating directly to the artist was an option I'd do it, but that's never the case for RIAA-signed artists.

          ??? Seriously? Just look up the artists address (which you should be able to do with 99% of them) and send them a $10 bill in the mail with a note that says "Wanted you to get this directly. Thanks for the music." Or go the t-shirt-at-the-concert route if you can't contact them directly (or, go to a concert and buy a CD right from them after the show). There's lots of ways outside of

      • RIAA Radar... very confusing sometimes... take this: search on "Noah and the Whale"... you get three results, two "safe"... the safe ones are singles released off the unsafe album??? wtf???
      • by Baki (72515)

        Indeed. Up to 5 years ago I used to buy about 4 CD's a month, but since then I haven't bought anything. And I won't until the system has changed that tries to subvert civil rights in order to push through their own interests.

        I only copy music since then. And even without the possibility of internet, no problem I'll just swap a disk with 500GB of music once in a while with some friends. They'll never be able to stop it, not even with the most draconian laws.

    • by JMZero (449047)

      Hate to just pile on - but completely agree. For me, Pandora died a while ago (since I'm in Canada).

      I haven't bought a ton of music lately, but what I have has been:

      1. Stuff I found on Pandora. Their model was such that you were constantly bumping into new things that I actually liked (because of their excellent related music search). I've found 4 or 5 artists I really like, and have bought at least one album from each.
      2. Stuff I ran into on YouTube - most recently, episodes of Mitchell & Webb. Afte

    • I'm in the same exact boat. But now, I'll make a point of only buying used CDs and records, rather than dropping cash to the RIAA member companies.

      I have disposable income. I believe that pirating is immoral, and I don't do it. I don't listen to terrestrial radio (even in the car). I have canceled my satellite subscription. I don't go to shows. I don't watch any music-affiliated television.

      Sure, I'm an outlier case, but my primary means of exposure to new music I'd like to buy is being destroyed by
    • by Morgaine (4316) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:10PM (#25034265)

      Although Pandora is often seen as the little guy fighting the big bad music industry, Pandora just repackages the output of that industry, so it's feeding the monster and helping to ensure that the money-grabbing evil continues. If we want the monster to die, we need to stop feeding it. Pandora doesn't want the monster to die, it merely wants it to eat less.

      So it's make-your-mind-up time, if you want to influence the evolution of music.

      If you really want a sea change to occur, try listening to Creative Commons music instead of commercial output. The immense repositories at Jamendo (11,955 albums) [jamendo.com] and at Archive.org (53,088 concerts, 310,685 recordings) [archive.org] should be enough to keep you busy for the rest of your life, but there's lots more out there.

      It's hard work, because there is nobody around to tell you what you must like, as the industry has been doing to us through radio and TV all these years. The diversity and sheer scale of Commons music is astounding, and exploring its uncharted vastness isn't quick nor easy, but ultimately your voyage will be very rewarding. Mine has been.

      But you have to take that first step yourself, nobody can help you, short of handing you a few links.

      The future really is in your hands. If everyone were to stop buying label output today, the Big 4 and the RIAA would disappear as soon as their coffers dry up, and the small labels would adapt perfectly happily because they're agile. You *can* drop your favourite chart bands if you try --- the discomfort doesn't last long, because there is no shortage of very high quality replacements. The Commons is vast, and the creativity amazing.

      The future really is in your hands.

  • by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @05:46PM (#25031419) Homepage

    They are just waiting for the net radio enthusiasts to postulate. Then, they label net radio advocates as "extreme and uncooperative" as the excuse for not saying or doing anything.

    It's important to remember the RIAA members control distribution. Letting net radio operate at a discount or even the same rates as broadcast is a non-starter. RIAA says, "net radio is cheaper, so give me more money. Well, actually, just give me more money..." And broadcasters are quite happy with that too.

    Best stance is to let the lack of an explanation rest as is and use the FOIA, if possible, to get at communications about the issue.

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @05:56PM (#25031523) Journal

      It's important to remember the RIAA members control distribution. Letting net radio operate at a discount or even the same rates as broadcast is a non-starter.

      It's also important to remember that the RIAA members also own most of the radio stations. The internet is their competition for earlobes, which they could otherwise sell to advertisers.

      • by Miseph (979059)

        And, more importantly, they have a huge measure of control over air radio and what they play as a simple matter of geography and operational costs. A terrestrial radio station simply cannot afford to operate playing only music that nobody has ever heard of, and that means they are effectively forced into the RIAA racket.

        The reason that is so important is that without that they have almost nothing to offer talent in the first place. Few bands ever get signed without being able to scrape together some cash to

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @05:49PM (#25031463) Homepage Journal

    The ISPs are hitting internet radio too with their monthly bandwidth quotas. Once you start to pile up usage, every bit counts:

    31 days * 24 hours * 60 minutes * 60 seconds * 128 kbps (16000 bytes) = 42854400000 bytes per month. That's nearly 40 GiB of data, only for radio.

    Even if you get real and cut it back to working hours and assume 8 hours of radio per day on weekends, that's still a whopping 13.3 GiB of data only for radio.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by st0rmshad0w (412661)
      Check your math. kbps is kiloBITS. Not bytes. Still adds up fast though when you start thinking about multiple streams.
      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        128 kbps = 128000 bits.
        128000 bits / 8 bit per byte = 16000 bytes.

        That's what I wrote above (128 kbps, 16000 bytes).

    • by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @06:12PM (#25031717) Homepage

      who the hell listens to internet radio for 8 hours every single day in a month?If you're considering listening while at the office, that's not bandwidth you should be concerned about so that's gone. The only people we have left using that kind of bandwidth are radio junkies who need some kind of noise playing all the time and who work from home/are unemployed. That's not a very big market, and to a person who needs to listen to that much radio, 30 GB out of 250GB per month (taking the recent Comcast announcement) isn't that much.

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        My mistake, you're right that listening to internet radio at work has nothing to do with your monthly bandwidth quota at home.

        Also, I'm not talking about decent quotas like the 250GB you mention, I was more concerned about the kind of quotas we have over here in Canada (usually around 35GB per month, and that's a combined download+upload quota).

        Even if we only count the weekends, that's still about 3.5GB, which is still 10% of the quotas around here.

        And before you make the usual "find a better ISP" comment,

      • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy&anasazisystems,com> on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @08:56PM (#25033417)

        who the hell listens to internet radio for 8 hours every single day in a month?If you're considering listening while at the office, that's not bandwidth you should be concerned about so that's gone.

        YOU may not care, but the people paying for uploading those bits to you (the net radio providers) certainly care if you're consuming bits that much.

        • but the people paying for uploading those bits to you (the net radio providers) certainly care if you're consuming bits that much.

          yeah, but those people WANT you to use those bits because that means you're listening to their station. If they have a problem with it, they could easily take their station offline. Or are you talking about ISPs? Of course they care. They want you to pay 50 bucks a month so you could check your e-mail and nothing else.

  • simple explanation (Score:5, Informative)

    by ObjetDart (700355) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @05:57PM (#25031549)

    No one seems to be trying to defend or explain why Internet radio is being hit so much harder than satellite or broadcast.

    The explanation is pretty simple. If you follow the history of the battle over internet radio royalties, you'll quickly see that it is all about stream ripping. The music industry is convinced that millions of people are "stealing" music by recording streaming radio with free tools like streamripper.

    They initially attempted to get congress to pass legislation to force all internet broadcasters to use DRM in their streams. When this went nowhere, that's when they began the royalty assault. The plan is to simply force internet radio broadcasters out of business with exhorbitant royalties. Looks like it's working, too, with the demise of Pandora.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @06:07PM (#25031653) Journal

      The explanation is pretty simple. If you follow the history of the battle over internet radio royalties, you'll quickly see that it is all about stream ripping. The music industry is convinced that millions of people are "stealing" music by recording streaming radio with free tools like streamripper.

      It's not just about stream-ripping. It's also about controlling the market. Internet radio destroys the ability of the major labels to determine what music gets played, which means that they lose the marketing oligopoly they currently hold.

      • by ObjetDart (700355)

        It's not just about stream-ripping. It's also about controlling the market. Internet radio destroys the ability of the major labels to determine what music gets played, which means that they lose the marketing oligopoly they currently hold.

        I've heard this argument made many times before (mostly on Slashdot), and while it's tempting to believe it out of a general hatred for the major music labels, somehow I just don't buy it. I just don't believe that internet radio is really that powerful, that it really a

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Red Flayer (890720)

          I just don't believe that internet radio is really that powerful, that it really actually completely undermines the "market oligopoly" (as you put it) in some way that traditional radio (which includes thousands of small, independent, and public stations which already play whatever they want whenever they want with no input whatsoever from "the industry") can't do.

          Well, first, I believe it's an effort to nip internet radio before it competes o a massive scale. The competition is there, and making inroads..

          • by ObjetDart (700355)

            Well, first, I believe it's an effort to nip internet radio before it competes o a massive scale. The competition is there, and making inroads...

            That could be, and I can't prove it otherwise. I'll just say what I said before: I don't believe it. This is attributing a tremendous amount of foresight to an industry that has not otherwise been well known for its forward thinking.

            Second, who do you think really controls terrestrial radio? Not to get all tinfoil-hattish, but the consolidation of terrestrial rad

            • It's also interesting to note that the commercial FM radio industry has been steadily declining over the last decade or so, much the same way as CD sales have. I'm sure the extremely poor quality of product (not to mention the endless ads) is responsible.

              To be fair, competition from downloaded and shared music has had a major impact on terrestrial radio as well. But it's interesting to note that the decline in FM radio parallels the deregulation of the FM radio industry (in particular, the restrictions on

            • by rhizome (115711)

              That could be, and I can't prove it otherwise. I'll just say what I said before: I don't believe it. This is attributing a tremendous amount of foresight to an industry that has not otherwise been well known for its forward thinking.

              It absolutely does not require foresight. Internet streaming is a distribution channel and the RIAA will not allow a distribution channel to exist that does not give them majority control via royalty schemes that force internet streamers to be no more than sharecroppers. If they

              • by ObjetDart (700355)

                Internet streaming is a distribution channel and the RIAA will not allow a distribution channel to exist that does not give them majority control via royalty schemes that force internet streamers to be no more than sharecroppers. If they can't control it they'll destroy it by imposing a usurious business model.

                OK, but noncommercial radio is also a distribution channel which they don't control and (I argue) a much larger one currently than internet radio. Why aren't they trying to destroy public/noncommerci

        • by Vancorps (746090)

          I think most people would be hard pressed to state local radio stations off the top of their head that aren't controlled by Clear Channel and thus the RIAA.

          The other issue is that they've always been up against massive websites with thousands of listeners or even millions so since they didn't get their first they will try whatever means to close it down. In the case of Pandora, it is in no one's best interest to close it down since they already have a large membership but they can't afford increased licens

          • by ObjetDart (700355)

            I think most people would be hard pressed to state local radio stations off the top of their head that aren't controlled by Clear Channel and thus the RIAA.

            What evidence do you have that the RIAA controls Clear Channel? I'm honestly curious. Clear Channel is privately owned. If the RIAA was using monetary incentives to control what music Cheal Channel stations are playing, that would be payola. So the control mechanism, if it exists, must be something else. What is it?

            • by Vancorps (746090)
              Besides the fact that the two are long time partners due to the nature of their respective business there is also this. [theinquirer.net]
      • That is true to some extent if the users can customize their channels (i.e. every user is listening to a unique playlist), but "paying for promotion" (i.e. Payola) would probably still work on Internet radio if everyone was listening to the same set of pre-determined channels (albeit somewhat diluted by the larger number of channels possible on the Internet...a channel for every niche and every niche in its own channel).
    • You mean that I can't record normal radio? And that I can't record YouTube (Where many record companies have music videos) ? Wrong.
      • by ObjetDart (700355)

        You mean that I can't record normal radio? And that I can't record YouTube (Where many record companies have music videos) ? Wrong.

        Let's see...hmm....read my post again. Did I say you couldn't do that? Nope. Nice straw man, though.

        Hint: it's all about relative difficulty. As we all know, due to the analog hole, if you are motivated enough, you can copy ANYTHING. But setting up an automated system to record an analog FM radio broadcast to your harddrive is a lot more work for the average joe than simply

    • I just started using Pandora recently. I looked into stream ripping, but it was more of a hassle than it was worth.

      It is FAR easier to hook up my computer to my tuner and record directly from the radio or the cable stations I get on the TV.

      It's a damn shame this whole thing, I had finally found a venue to discover new music. Back to the record stores for some used classic vinyl I guess.

      If the music labels can't figure out that Pandora is bringing the people who haven't bought a CD since the 90's
      • by ObjetDart (700355)

        I just started using Pandora recently. I looked into stream ripping, but it was more of a hassle than it was worth.

        I've never tried to rip Pandora, so I can't speak to the difficulty involved. But for a tradional internet radio station that broadcasts a continuous mp3 stream receivable by programs such as Winamp, nothing could possibly be simpler than recording the stream with streamripper. Download, install, enter URL, done. Beyond that, automating the daily recording of your favorite show requires just

  • by computersareevil (244846) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @05:59PM (#25031577)

    Won't this just mean that there won't be any U.S. Internet radio stations? They'll either fold up or move off-shore. They won't be able to conduct any "business" in the U.S., but short of the Great Firewall of Comrizon/Vericast, the MAFIAA won't be able to stop U.S. users from streaming.

    • Exactly. Why is it that politicians can't realize that the real reason companies are taking jobs overseas is because of all the annoying regulations we have in the US that stops anything from getting done unless you have a $1,000,000 initial investment.
  • Why is the government determining royalty rates for the music industry?

    Maybe it's because that same government is who declares that compulsory licensing must happen in the first place?

    It wouldn't make sense to have compulsory licensing if the price could then be negotiated. The copyright holder could just say, "Ok, $1 million per play if you want access to my song," and then no one would be able to license it.

    Either get rid of compulsory licensing, or deal with the fact that the associated rates are l

    • It wouldn't make sense to have compulsory licensing if the price could then be negotiated.

      Huh? With most of the copyright compulsory licenses, the price is in fact negotiated, with the result that the actual price is usually far below the compulsory license rate.

    • by Firehed (942385)

      If the government is going to regulate pricing, wouldn't it legally have to be equal for everyone lest they run afoul of some non-discrimination law? It seems to me that whether they set rates at $50k/song/listener or $0.0005/song/listener, those rates need to be the same regardless of the broadcast medium. Obviously getting an accurate listener count for radio is impossible, but they should be obligated to use the same estimates they provide to their advertisers (whether they're knowingly inflated or oth

  • ... the former systems just weren't working out.

    Weren't working out for who, exactly? More than likely it was pressure from radio stations, bars, et cetera for regulation on an increasingly out of control royalty scheme put forth by the cartel of the Big Four. So what did this government do? Regulated it for the labels, not for the people who are getting gouged to hell and back on what, in my opinion, is backward and stupid anyway. Royalties simply for playing a song? Hell, why doesn't Penguin start char
  • "No one seems to be trying to defend or explain why Internet radio is being hit so much harder than satellite or broadcast."

    Why do either, when all that would serve to do is draw attention to the disparity, and invite enough consideration that the real aim become apparent? Which is to strangle a nascent medium in order to have control over it.

    Consider FIOS. Massive pipes to the doorstep, geeks rejoice. If anyone had said at that time that Verizon would be getting into the television business most would h

  • Radio... meh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by achenaar (934663)
    Am I the only spod in the universe that for ages has thought that radio sucks ass anyhow?
    Seriously, the only thing I've chosen to listen to on the radio was the Mark and Lard show on Radio 1 when I was about 14.
    Picture this proposal:
    "How about you flip on your radio and we'll play you music that you may or may not like, followed by advertisements, bullshit interviews, more advertisements, and more music that you may or may not like. How's that?"
    Compared to:
    "Fire up your MP3 player/ocremix.org/shoutcast
    • by Drishmung (458368)
      My problem is finding new music. At its best, radio can do this well. Plays a lot of stuff; some is OK, some I don't like; some is new stuff.

      At least in theory. Reality for the last far too many years has been bland, more bland and still more bland, all stuffed with adverts and presented by LOUD idiots. Actually, teams of loud idiots in case one of them gets popular and hence can demand a higher salary.

      The last radio station that I really enjoyed listening too was a one-man station where he owned the statio

  • "No one seems to be trying to defend or explain why Internet radio is being hit so much harder than satellite or broadcast."

    Two words - "no payola"

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      Yes, the music companies aren't paying Pandora to play. I strongly suspect there are no ratings or audience statistics that would indicate to the copyright owners exactly what they might be getting by licensing Pandora to play their material. No advertising rate information that would indicate how valuable businesses consider Pandora to be in terms of listener attention.

      What this all comes down to is it seems worthless to have the music played by Pandora. If they still want to, for no reason apparent to

  • I think many people are a little unclear on how compulsory licenses work. Once that is understood, a lot becomes clearer.

    For most things you might want to do that require permission of the copyright owner, how much that costs you, if anything is entirely up to whatever agreement you and the copyright own make. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you can't go ahead with your proposed use of the copyrighted material.

    For some particular uses of some kinds of work, copyright law provides a different de

  • No one seems to be trying to defend or explain why Internet radio is being hit so much harder than satellite or broadcast.

    Defend? No thanks. Explain? Sure - that's easy.

    It is being hit so much harder because the RIAA gives a lot of money to politicians, and because politicians need money to get reelected, and because that money at the very least buys meme transmission time, and at the worst buys votes outright. In turn, the RIAA is asking for it to be hit harder because they fear it, do not understand it, a

  • I found a site here:

    http://pandorafm.real-ity.com/login.php [real-ity.com]

    that lets you feed your Pandora stuff into last.fm -- I haven't been able to test how it works on the last.fm side, I've always found it fairly annoying in the past, but I figured it was worth a shot.

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