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Day of Silence On the Internet 276

A number of readers sent in stories about Net radio going dark for a day. Not all of it, but according to the Globe and Mail at least 45 stations representing thousands of channels. The stations are protesting a ruling establishing royalty rates that will put most of them out of business on July 15. "The ruling... is expected to cost large webcasters such as Yahoo and Real Networks millions of dollars, drive smaller websites like and out of business and leave a large chunk of the 72 million Net radio listeners in the dark." SaveNetRadio has a page where US residents can locate their senators and representatives to call them today.
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Day of Silence On the Internet

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  • I too... (Score:5, Funny)

    by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:17PM (#19653729) Journal having a day of silence on the net.

    It's not going so well so far... argg... must... stop... posting...
  • I am a geek, net-literate guy who is TOTALLY lost on this whole issue. I've tried following it, and it's as confusing and muddy as the "net neutrality" issue. Even the debates about it I've seen have been obtuse and confusing.

    Is this the result of a ruling, a law, or a company decision? Who exactly has to pay and who doesn't? What do they have to pay? Why do they have to pay it? To whom do they pay it, and why them? Where they paying before? Is it a matter of amount or are they challenging having to pay a

    • by Kindgott ( 165758 ) <> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:28PM (#19653889) Journal
      Ok here we go:

      The Copyright Royalties Board recently (March 2, 2007) enacted new regulations which increase the "royalties" owed by internet broadcasters; instead of paying .007 cents per song streamed, the new rates go up to .019 centes by 2010. These rate changes are also retroactive to something like the beginning of this year. Also, there is apparently a $500 per channel minimum, in case your station is too small to generate enough revenue.

      From what I understand, the "per song streamed" is calculated not by just how many songs you broadcast, but also how many listeners you had for each particular song. So if 10 people listened to a 30 Seconds From Mars track, it would count as 10 songs, not 1.

      Who gets the money? SoundExchange. Under such protest, the generously offered webcasters the gracious offer of being able to pay the reduced rates for a little longer than originally scheduled. How nice of them!

      Basically it boils down to the fact that terrestrial broadcasters pay no royalties whatsoever to the recording companies, but the recording industry wants to extort as much money as they can from the internet music business. Which, in turn, will most likely drive most internet radio out of the game.
      • by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:45PM (#19654093) Journal
        Basically it boils down to the fact that terrestrial broadcasters pay no royalties whatsoever to the recording companies, but the recording industry wants to extort as much money as they can from the internet music business.

        One thing I don't understand is why the terrestrial broadcasters don't pay royalties in the US. AFAIK then do in most other counties. They certainly do in the UK. Anyone know?
        • by kcurtis ( 311610 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:50PM (#19654169)
          Because it has long long been considered to be more profitable for broadcasters to play the songs for free with the thought that listeners would buy the music, attend concerts, get a t-shirt, etc.

          So much so that there have been many, many "payola" scandals, including in the past year, where the broadcasters are paid kickbacks (through tickets, cash, gifts) to play particular songs and artists.

          The fact that this system would probably work out for the music industry when it comes to internet music is being ignored -- as has long been noted here on slashdot.
          • However it's so easy to set up an internet radio station that anybody could do it. This creates thousands of more stations all with different owners. It's one thing for the RIAA to pay off ClearChannel to get their songs played on every second terrestrial radio station. It's another thing entirely to try to work out deals with thousands of independent online radio stations, many of which are probably against the RIAA, and would use any attempt to make a deal as a way to show just how evil they are.
          • I can almost see the recording industry's logic here. Play time on terrestrial radio is a scarce resource, and so it's in their interests to get as much of it as they can, without charging. Play time on internet radio is not, since anyone can set up a new internet radio station, so it makes some sense to handle them differently.
            • Ultimately, they are all competing for the same resource - people's attention and that leads to money.

              As such, it's in the RIAA's best interests to shut down avenues which would introduce people to musicians outside their control. This is what it is all about.

              And the government is helping them maintain their monopoly.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Derek Pomery ( 2028 )
              However the cost per listener for terrestrial radio is far lower.
              Running a net station means reaching fewer people and paying more per listener.
              Having more net stations helps ensure a roughly equivalent user base to terrestrial.
              I like the "hard to apply payola" theory.

              They probably just want less choices on the internet.
              I'm sure getting royalties that they don't deserve:
              doesn't hurt either.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Kindgott ( 165758 )
          Terrestrial stations pay the publishers and composters of the music they play, but are not required to pay the record label or the artists.

          The basic reasoning behind this is that it is a mutually beneficial situation where airplay increases record sales for the label and tour attendance for the artists.
      • by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:56PM (#19654255)

        I have a feeling that the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) that represent terrestrial radio is partially behind this. Recently, they've seen competition increase significantly with MP3 players like the iPod, satellite radio, and Internet radio. The NAB is already trying to limit their competition by lobbying against the merger of the satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM, which are both taking massive losses. I wouldn't be surprised if they're behind an attempt to kill Internet radio.

        I don't know about you guys, but I've completely stopped listening to regular radio. To me, regular radio has degenerated into commercials and the same 10 songs in repeat. Now I listen to my iPod on my commute to work. I'm very sure that many people are doing the same.

        • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @05:11PM (#19655339) Journal
          I still listen to radio: two little college stations that, between them, have played three songs I've heard on mainstream radio, and that's after two years of listening. (Thomas Dolby's "Airwaves", Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill", and the Pixies, "Where Is My Mind", for the record. Neither radio station will accept requests for "Where Is My Mind" because both say, and I quote, "We play that ALL THE TIME: we've aired that six times in the last eight years!") As a result, I've found out about 30 dozen, conservatively estimating, new bands I would never have heard on Clear Channel. Rock on.
          • You bring up a good point. There are still some independent radio stations that don't stick to the mainstream, such as college radio stations. I'm going to look for my local college radio station and preset that in my car. Unfortunately, they usually have weaker signals...
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              The one I listen to the most --, I believe they webcast -- has like 5000 watts of power to the transmitter during the day (compared to 50,000-100,000W on the commercial ones around here) and because of some weird regulation, they drop down to 100W, yes one hundred, after dark. And it's AM so it's all crackly. But that's okay: it sounds a little like old vinyl and it's the weirdest stuff.

              For the record, groups I've found because of them, that I recommend: Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Electralane, Raspu
      • Basically it boils down to the fact that terrestrial broadcasters pay no royalties whatsoever to the recording companies, but the recording industry wants to extort as much money as they can from the internet music business. Which, in turn, will most likely drive most internet radio out of the game.

        Well (stating the obvious) I think the record companies are a bit torn and have a love-hate relationship with the internet. On the one hand, they love the idea of cutting distribution costs and creating new ch

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Skapare ( 16644 )

        What if I write, perform, and record my own music? Can I make that available to the internet radio stations on my own more favorable terms (assuming it might be good enough for them to like, which is probably stretching a rubber band to the moon). Or do I have to use this Copyright Royalties Board rule? Do artists have to use the CRB or is that just a general choice made by the corporations that so many artists have signed their soul over to?

        What about having internet radio playing indie music instead?

    • by Slushie31 ( 857901 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:30PM (#19653901) Homepage
      IANA*, but here's my understanding of the matter. In March, the Copyright Royalty Board [] set new royalty rates for Internet radio broadcasters. The rate increase has been delayed once, but is currently to go into effect on July 15. There are three parts to this:
      1. A fee is levied to a broadcaster, per song per listener. The fee also increases every year (as far as I understand, there was a fee previously, but it is being increased).
      2. The fee is retroactive to January 2006, due immediately when the rate increases go into effect.
      3. There is a minimum fee of $500 per year.
      Because of these changes (which are not applicable to terrestrial or satellite radio broadcasters), many webcasters will be forced to shut down on July 15 because they will not have the revenue to pay the new fees (ie. they will go bankrupt).

      Instead, the Internet Radio Equality Act [] proposes a lower royalty fee (0.33 cents per hour per listener) or a revenue sharing agreement.
      • by XaXXon ( 202882 )
        The important part of all this is the REVENUE SHARING part. Most of the Internet radio stations make no money. Take 15% (or whatever) of my revenue. It's still 0. The revenue sharing option is (if nothing changes) going away. This is what kills all the smaller stations. I'm sure some stations actually make money and want to do the other options (which increased dramatically), but I really think it's the revenue sharing part that was going to kill most of the stations.
      • by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:47PM (#19654131)
        Because of these changes (which are not applicable to terrestrial or satellite radio broadcasters),

        Keep in mind that both XM and Sirius have contracts with the RIAA that requires them to pay a percentage of subscription fees. So no, they're not paying the same fee, but they do pay a significant fee.
      • by palewook ( 1101845 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:51PM (#19654175) Homepage
        3. There is a minimum fee of $500 per year. Actually there is a minimum fee per channel to collect the fees per year. So if you go to Pandora and listen to 1 song all year, it costs them 500.33 for that. Its bizarro rates. No other format that broadcasts music is being charged the new rates. If you have a terrestrial radio station, you are exempt from the net rates also. Even if you decide to broadcast on the net. Etc. CBS lined up for their free legislation pie when it bought which isn't US based.
    • Okay, here's what I understand of it.

      In the beginning. Prior to 1995, you could 'perform' music in public, via digital broadcasting, without paying any royalties on it. I'm a little fuzzy on exactly what you used to have to pay royalties for (Wikipedia says there was "no performance right" for artists, but that doesn't make a lot of sense, I remember performance-rights cases prior to '95; I think it was just a digital thing), but anyway, in 1995 Congress passed a law granting rightsholders control over the digital 'performance' of their works. The upshot of this was that anyone distributing music digitally now had to pay 'performance' royalties for it.

      Obviously, trying to pay royalties directly to the owner of each piece of music that you might play on a radio station would be problematic. It would require negotiating a license with each rightsholder, for each work, for every station. The paperwork and negotiations would be crippling. So a provision was made for so-called 'statutory licenses,' basically blanket licenses that you buy from an organization who takes the proceeds and divides them up among artists. (Blanket broadcast licenses like this aren't a new thing, but this extended them to digital broadcasting.) In return, you can play whatever you want, without worrying about negotiating individual contracts. The cost and rate structure of these licenses is set, theoretically, by the U.S. Copyright Office.

      Enter SoundExchange. The RIAA [1] has a division/subsidiary/department-of-evil called "SoundExchange", which is designated, by the U.S. Copyright Office, as the sole supplier of "statutory licenses" for digital music. So if you wanted to run an internet radio station or other digital broadcast, and weren't going to stick to just playing independent artists who have relinquished some of their rights to public performance, you needed to go to SoundExchange and buy a license. While philosophically objectionable to many (including many artists!) because of the metrics they use to distribute the fees, SoundExchange had licensing terms that weren't horrific, including some that were based on a percentage-of-revenue (I've heard 10-13% quoted). So if you were running a small-time internet radio station, the fees wouldn't break the bank. This has been the status quo for a while now.

      The Rubber Stamp. The current controversy started a while back, when SoundExchange proposed, and the Copyright Office approved, a dramatic rate hike. Among other things, the new rates eliminated the percent-of-revenue model, replacing it instead with a per-song-per-listener model, combined with a minimum per-channel fee, and a bunch of other onerous terms (including making the fees retroactive to some point in the past, which would instantly force any station without large cash reserves out of existence). The bottom line was that under the new fees, most small internet radio stations -- particularly those who have lots of channels tailored to particular musical tastes or genres -- just wouldn't be able to pay the bills. The effect as far as I can tell, would be to make Internet radio much like terrestrial broadcast radio: dominated by a few corporate-backed players (e.g.,, with a small number of channels playing basically the same thing. The new rates, if nothing happens to forestall them, go into effect around the middle of next month.

      [1] Okay, allegedly it's "independent" now. Riiight...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
        Here's my question. If it's problematic for the radio station to work out deals with every owner of every song, then how does SoundExchange do it? Oh, wait, they don't. They have ties to all the RIAA music, but not all music, and yet they still insist that you pay the royalties, even if you don't play any music that's covered by their licensing fees. So if I set up a station and play classical music including Bach, Mozart, and a bunch of other guys who have been dead for a long time, the I still have to
        • If it's problematic for the radio station to work out deals with every owner of every song, then how does SoundExchange do it?

          By being appointed by the Copyright Royalty Board as the group who manages the levies. ie, they're selected by the government.
        • "classical music including Bach, Mozart, and a bunch of other guys who have been dead for a long time"

          Does the performer of music written by old dead dudes get a royalty?
          I am just curious if Symphony orchestras get any credit for a quality performance of a classical piece of music or are they just really really good cover bands?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is this the result of a ruling, a law, or a company decision?

      A senate committee made the ruling from pressure from the RIAA.

      Who exactly has to pay and who doesn't?

      This applies only to "internet radio."

      What do they have to pay? Why do they have to pay it? To whom do they pay it, and why them? Where they paying before? Is it a matter of amount or are they challenging having to pay at all?

      They were already paying, and they have to pay it to the RIAA as copyright licensing fees, the copyright holders. The fees they have to pay are 300% of the prior amount, and are retroactive for 18 months. Also, a $500 minimum fee is applied to each "station." This means that if an internet radio company, like Pandora, allows you to have 1 customized station (in reality they allow you to have dozens) that

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by mi ( 197448 )

      Internet "radio" stations were enticing listeners with content (music, largely), which the content's owners did not license for such use.

      Slashdot, being what it is, is always happy to "stick it" to the owners of anything worth stealing, so there is a lot of sympathy towards these businesses.

      Watch this thread deteriorate into the "piracy is not exactly stealing, therefore there is nothing wrong with it" obfuscation and muddying.

  • This sucks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmadmin ( 532701 ) <rmalek@homecode . o rg> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:18PM (#19653741) Homepage
    Ya know, this sucks so bad that I had to torrent some music at work to listen to since I didn't have my streams. :(
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by megaditto ( 982598 )
      Or how about trying to listen to non-RIAA music? There are plenty of third party recordings that are made available for free or almost for free to anyone directly by artists, performers, even some record companies. Lots of classical pieces performed by the universities' choirs and orchestras are put out there for free

      While I sympathize with you, you don't exactly have the rights to listen to music for free unless the copyright holder gives it to you. If you don't like it, you can get back at them by not pay
      • Non RIAA music is subject to the same royalties via Internet Radio. There is the problem. Your choice (when it comes to Internet Radio) is thus, listen to nothing, since the RIAA/SoundXchange collects the money (that the artists may - or may not see) - all while killing off any Internet Radio station without the money to pay these exhorbitant fees - leaving who? RIAA's affiliates/members? That's my guess.
    • by Otter ( 3800 )
      And ... did you write to your congressman and senators?

      if everyone who steals music would put five minutes of effort into keeping legal streams viable, there's no way the royalty ruling is going to go through.

      • What I'm listening to now on Pandora... []

        You mean, what you are not listening to on Pandora! :)
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:21PM (#19653769) Homepage Journal
    Is there anything we can do if we live outside of the USA? Will our voice/concerns even matter? We want to help in any way we can if it's all at possible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tedshultz ( 596089 )

      Is there anything we can do if we live outside of the USA? Will our voice/concerns even matter? We want to help in any way we can if it's all at possible.
      It's just about as easy to influence US politics if you live in the US or not, just give money to groups you support. Because the US is such a large world power (for better or worse), I'm surprised that more foreign groups are not more active in US politics.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TiredOfCrap ( 885340 )

        I received this yesterday:

        "Dear Dr. XXXX:

        This letter acknowledges receipt of your communication about internet radio.

        The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) recently announced new statutory royalty rates for certain digital transmissions of sound recordings for the period January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2010. Implementation of these new rates marks the expiration of a previous royalty rate agreement specifically designed to benefit "small" web casters.

        I support an artist's right to be

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why not Point our American Cousins at Stations outside the USA who broadcast on the Net?

      To start the ball rolling... (UK) Playing some Genesis as I write this. (June is Genesis Month) and select your station

      If the USA conglomerates are so determined to cut their own throat then so be it. These companies do need to understand that the internet allows us to listen to broadcasters from all over the world. Shutting down US based stations
      • "Please enter your Postcode Due to licensing changes, we're only allowed to offer our radio stream to those in the UK. You seem to be outside the UK, so you need to enter a valid UK postcode below:"
        Still illegal. Thanks for trying, though!
    • Is there anything we can do if we live outside of the USA? Will our voice/concerns even matter? We want to help in any way we can if it's all at possible.

      Well you can start by listening to radio stations outside of the USA.
  • Why not forever until the right people get the message?

    I dont really use online radio, but if I did I wouldn't miss it for a day.
  • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:27PM (#19653865) Journal
    ... because my porn is downloading so much faster today!
  • How is shutting down for one day going to do ANYTHING?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by darkhitman ( 939662 )
      It gets all the listeners to actually notice that this is going to happen. Maybe some of them will call their senators, perhaps enough to get the bill they want passed. Doubtful, since the RIAA can lobby via the power of bribery--er,uh... campaign donations?
      • Yeah, just like all the people who stop buying gas one day of the year cause the gasmakers to realize that the American people won't take high gas prices anymore!

        Oh wait, it accomplishes nothing ...
        • The American people don't have high gas prices. If you want high gas prices, just look north, to Canada, or even better, to Europe.
          • I love that argument...

            "Doctor, I broke my arm. Can you help me?"
            "Pfft! See Mr. Faldworth over there? He's dying of cancer! What are you complaining about?"

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vancorps ( 746090 )

          Except that this day of silence is to draw attention to the issue, much like the read people stop buying gas for a day. Has nothing or at least, very little to do with making them lower their prices. This will make a lot of people aware that the net radio stations are being extorted, a few of those people will be driven to do something about it that otherwise were unaware. If even a thousand people write to their congress critters about the issue, considering 72 million listeners that seems like a reasonabl

        • WTF are you talking about? That's a *completely* different situation. On the one hand, we have consumers protesting against an entrenched oligopoly who'll barely feel the effects of a boycott. On the other, we have an industry under attack, trying to raise consumer awareness so that said consumers they might contact their legislators and hopefully build up enough grassroots support to generate legislative relief.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
      it got posted on slashdot, didn't it?
  • As you can see at KUOW [], they are also participating, as I believe RainyDawg and KNHC in Seattle are as well.
  • WE need some pirate radio mates!

    Personally I don't listen to net radio. So far haven't listened to a station yet that didn't have such poor audio quality that my ears were left feeling raped. But in principle it seems the gov'ment is overstepping its mandate big time here which is always bad. So power to the pirates and may anarchy rein till we get a new less corrupt government.
  • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:44PM (#19654083)
    US NetCasters will either move to a country without those laws
    use an SSL tunnel to a server in a country without those laws.

    I wonder what they do to Net radio stations with "ALL TALK" or ALL News" format?

    Damned stupid over-bribed politicians.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:56PM (#19654253)
    I am a friend of a terrestial FM station's president. He also streams his content, for free. Him and I were discussing this issue just last week.

    He can afford paying the royalties, if he must. The smaller shops will pay about the same.

    Here are the issues as he pointed out.

    1. He is going to have to pay 10x what he would have in the past.

    2. The artists don't even know the cut they are going to get.
    2a. The artists are beginning to catch on. /AC for a reason.
  • move outside the US (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Secret Rabbit ( 914973 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @04:02PM (#19654359) Journal
    Why can't these companies move somewhere outside the US? It's not like US law is applicable elsewhere in the world.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @04:04PM (#19654397) Homepage Journal
    Radio silences YOU!

    I know I know, I can't believe I just posted that, I also can't believe it's not butter.
  • I left a Pandora window open overnight and it's still playing today. Is that cheating?
  • Shoutcast? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tanker333 ( 798590 )
    What effect will this legislation have on shoutcast? That is the main internet radio that I listen to.
  • Its one day all the evil websites won't be stealing money from the starving artists!
  • by njhunter ( 613589 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @05:33PM (#19655625)
    So, I called my people in Congress. Levin hasn't taken a position and wouldn't say when he would (I'll take that as "no"). Stabenow put me on voicemail and promised to call back (funny, "no" again). Dingell, ah there's the funny part. I talk to the aide, he hasn't heard about the bill. I tell him H.R.2060 and he's able to look it up. Then says they are not familiar with the bill. I ask when it'll be voted on and the aide says the bill is still in committee. I ask, "how can I find out who is on the committee?" His reply, "Dingell is chair of the committee." Sounds like the bill is doomed.
  • Interesting Strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Adambomb ( 118938 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @06:09PM (#19656051) Journal
    I've noticed that every time we see an article about this issue we always get a plethora of people stating to the effect of "pfft, theres still the rest of the world out there to host servers on". Given that this is the case, and the recording industry is most likely aware of this fact, isnt it likely that this is what they would WANT?

    It seems to me that they do not care about sustaining the revenues from these small operators, merely getting them hit out of the market completely. Not because they think its logical and valid but because these small stations allow for a lot more EXPOSURE to different musics. The Recording industry seems to be heart-set on controlling the united states listener market, indoctrinating them into their current "top 40 for your genre of choice" way of thinking. By keeping the royalties as a per-channel issue, the more styles people try to put out there, they have a direct incentive not to diversify. This allows the usual gang (CC, etc) to keep control of what music people are being exposed to.

    How often to people buy cd's of bands they dont know? and if they manage to kill Fair-Use by the end of the day, they'll have it enforceably illegal to share with friends (in a MAFIAA perfect world).

    Then all thats left is to mass produce more of the same crap, ensure its all the target market is exposed to, and guaranteeing revenue without need for unimportant points like "taste" or "quality". Seems to me the RIAA is slowly giving up on affecting the world and are instead trying to create a fortress out of the USA.
  • by unix guy ( 163468 ) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:15PM (#19658155) Homepage
    Quoting from the letter I received from Representative Mike McIntyre from North Carolina.

    " Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 2060, the Internet Radio Equality Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important, and I am pleased to tell you that I am a cosponsor of this bill.

    As you know, on March 2, 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) dramatically raised the performance royalty rates for webcasters. The CRB eliminated the percentage of revenue fee that many small webcasters used to determine their performance royalty. The move from a percentage of revenue to a per-song rate hits small webcasters the hardest. Royalty rates would increase over 300% for the largest webcasters and as much as 1200% for the smallest webcasters. This kind of rate hike would mean the end of many Internet radio stations that would not be able to stay in business under the crushing new royalty rates. Therefore, I have cosponsored H.R. 2060, the Internet Radio Equality Act. This bill would render the CRB ruling ineffective and would reinstate the percentage of revenue royalty payments. This bill has referred to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Judiciary.

    Thank you for contacting me about this important issue. I will continue to be a strong voice for you in Washington.


    Mike McIntyre
    Member of Congress"

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court