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By Martin Lindeskog from EGO,cross-posted by MetaBlog

I play (stream) Radio Dismuke at Blue Chip Café. The music is an important "ingredient" in the business concept. The "cool" music from the 1920's & 1930's has a soothing and relaxing impact on the atmosphere and our guests are giving positive feedback. Personally, I get in a cheerful mood by listening to this kind of music. Do you see any possible solution to this situation? How could we help Mr. Dismuke in his attempt to share his music collection with the listeners? How could you send a message to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in Washington, DC?

From Dismuke:


Your ability to enjoy the vintage 1920s and 1930s recordings on Radio Dismuke and other Internet radio stations along with your ability to enjoy the virtually unlimited variety of genres that can only be found on Internet radio is in grave jeopardy.

On March 2, the U.S. Copyright Office released the new royalty rates that all Internet radio stations are required to pay to SoundExchange in order to legally play copyright records and CDs. These royalties are paid on top of the royalties that stations already pay to other organizations such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. AM and FM radio stations, by the way, are exempt from having to pay SoundExchange royalties for their over-the-air broadcasts.

The new royalty rates, pushed through by lawyers for the RIAA (the trade organization for the major record labels), if allowed to stand, will immediately kill off the emerging Internet radio industry. For even the most profitable and commercially viable Internet radio stations, the cost of these new royalty rates would be in excess of 125% of ALL total revenue that such stations currently bring in. (Dismuke.org)

Please read the following posts:

Retroactive Bankruptcy by Dismuke.

Morally Bankrupt Regulators by Gus Van Horn.

Say Goodbye to Webcasting by Mark Cuban.

RIAA Pushes Through Internet Radio Royalty Rates Designed To Kill Webcasts by Mike of TechDirt. [Via InstaPundit.]

Posts that contain RIAA per day for the last 30 days.


Get your own chart!


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After a few blag-exchanges and some web-searching, I think I now have a better understanding of how the U.S. works with respect to this area called "statutory copyright" for radio stations.

The RIAA (via SoundExchange) represents the major music companies, some of the larger "independent" music companies and some others.

So, as regards music to which the RIAA's (basically "SoundExchange") members have rights, it is fine that they ask the price they wish, and even fine that they discriminate.

The issue seems to be with regard to music to which the RIAA's members do not have a right. The law currently does not allow the individual artist to make a deal with the individual internet radio provider. The artist can only make a radio deal via a collective agency approved by the U.S. government. Obviously, this is bad law, something along the lines of union-law.

Currently, other than SoundExchange, only one other group is recognized by the US copyright office. It's called "Royalty Logic".

So, the problematic area is the law with respect to recordings by artists who have not joined SoundExchange or "Royalty Logic". These performers will not be paid for their recordings.

However, radio-stations are not banned from playing these copyrighted works. In absence of the artist being a member of an "exchange", the law still allows radio-stations to play their recordings. The stations also have to pay, and the government has designated "SoundExchange" as the organization (it is a "non-profit", something like a union), to collect the payments, at the same rates as they are charging for their members.

It appears (though this is extremely fuzzy), that SoundExchange will actually deduct expenses (including money for things like fighting legal battles) and hold the rest of the money in some type of trust-fund on behalf of the artists.

That's what the law appears to be. I've probably not got it all correct. So, if anyone knows of a significant mistake, I'd appreciate a correction.

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