Monday, April 16, 2007

Copyright Royalty Board rejects rehearing

The Copyright Royalty Board, a three judge panel responsible for the March 2nd ruling that set webcast royalties at their new increased rate, has denied all parties' motion for rehearing of the ruling on procedural grounds. The Board claimed that the motions introduced no new evidence and were therefore legally insufficient. At this point, getting legislation passed is the only solution to keping independent webcasters (as well as most other US-based webcasters) on the air. As of May 15th, SomaFM will owe $600,000 to SoundExchange for our 2006 royalties (which were formerly about $22,000). More details soon... I'm posting from the Internet Radio Summit at NAB in Las Vegas right now where lots of webcasters are meting to plan on how to best deal with this issue.



Anonymous John said...

How does this decision affect independent musicians - i.e. those who do not have an existing royalty collection agreement with any agency?

Are you able to enter into agreements with these artists directly, or are you forced by law to send money to the collection agencies, regardless of whether the song being played is licensed through them?

April 16, 2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Inboulder said...

This post has been removed by the author.

April 16, 2007 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your posts with great consternation and disgust. I too am one of those people that can say with no doubt that without a venue like SOMAFM, there are literally dozens of great artists that I wouldn't know of otherwise. I wonder what in the hell the record companies are trying to achieve. Are they trying to FORCE me to listen to over the air radio. I can assure you that with the drivel they offer, that will EVER happen. SOMAFM, among others, have shown me the light. I KNOW that there is good music out there. Well above the top40, pop crap that they think we're trying to steal or rather not pay for. It distresses me greatly, and it has for years, that, the only one getting fat pockets and crying the most are the record labels. And the ones really suffering and getting screwed over the most are the ones doing all the work. MY POINT is, please tell me what I can do, legally at this point, to preserve the music source I love. How can I reward independent labels, artists and webcasters that are barely breaking even financially. How Can I prove to the world that there HAS to be a middle ground, where everyone can be, if not happy, content?

April 17, 2007 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

This saddens me. Without somafm, I would have not discovered laid-back electonrica. I now own a good 15 - 20 albums that I've purchased after hearing songs from soma.

Welcome to the US, the land of royalty fees ad attorneys. :(

April 17, 2007 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Plaid_Knight said...

Just a thought, and pardon me if it's been asked before.

What about moving the stations to PeerCast?

April 17, 2007 10:31 AM  
Blogger Rusty Hodge said...

I'll answer a couple of the questions:

Peercast is just a way of hiding your broadcasts. It doesn't make it legal. We're a little too big to hide under the radar.

On Independent Musicians: in theory, we could get broadcast waviers from all independent artists that we play, but the waivers have to come from the copyright owners not the artist. If the artist has any kind of deal with a small or large record label, the label owns the rights now. Those labels have to grant the waivers. And the people at even the indie labels are very hesitant to sign a waiver granting someone the rights to broadcast the material indefinitely. We have tried this, and it's not really effective. Not to mention we'd have to start from scratch with our entire music library.

Keep in mind that the RIAA influences this law greatly (through their lobbyists) but the law applies to all copyrighted sound recordings, not just RIAA released tracks.

If you're outside the US, one thing you can do is let us know how internet radio (especially SomaFM) has helped you find new artists and buy more music. The labels are trying to claim that internet radio doesn't help sell records and in fact leads to a downturn in record sales. We need to refute that. So your stories about discovering a new artist/band on SomaFM and bought CDs you wouldn't have otherwise bought.

April 17, 2007 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Jason, Athens GA said...

I've gone to the websites for both SoundExchange and the CRB and read their position statements. It bothers me considerably that the reason the CRB gave for denying a rehearing on negotiating rates was almost word for word the same reason in SoundExchanges call for dismissal. Makes one wonder who is in whose pocket.

I am in the process of contacting my congressmen here in Georgia. I live and work in the Athens area, a town known for it's music community, and I am trying to stir up support there as well.

I am not content to stand by and watch while a few old, rich men get to use the law to their own advantage and limit my right to choose what I want to - and don't want to - listen to.

April 17, 2007 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

I just sent messages to my representive and senators. I need SomaFM. Furthermore the music industry needs stations like this to show commercial radio how far they've fallen.

Besides, I can't afford a $500 t-shirt.

Make some noise all!

April 17, 2007 8:43 PM  
Blogger John Barker said...

I am all ears Rusty. Anything I can do to help out I will. This isn't a matter of the artists' position in the music industry but rather is a blatant attempt to shut down yours and other webcasters' operations. You are not alone in this fight and if anything this will bring the hundreds of thousands of listeners together to share one unified voice.

April 18, 2007 3:19 PM  

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