SoundExchange Make Attempt to Not Suck, The Attempt Sucks, They Suck: Royalty Fees Capped Only for Anti-Streamripping Stations

I was briefly shaken out of a morbid heatwave torpor last week when the recording industry appeared -- if only for a fleeting, beautiful moment -- to show just a modicum of common decency. I’m referring to SoundExchange’s agreement (under congressional pressure) to temporarily cap the onerous royalty fees they were preparing to impose upon internet radio stations. Those new fees would have theoretically cost some stations no less than a billion dollars a year and, as an obvious consequence, force them to stop broadcasting. The new agreement stipulated that these fees would be capped at a maximum of $50,000 per year, per station.

As you might have guessed, however, there’s a rather big catch in the whole deal that SoundExchange proposed. They’re now saying that the $50,000 ‘cap’ on webcasters’ fees will only be made available to those stations who “work to stop users from engaging in “streamripping” -- turning internet radio performances into a digital music library.” It’s not as if the RIAA mob have even provided any information as to how they actually want the stations to “work to stop” streamripping. Without such divine guidance being available, it would be fair to infer that what they want is for the internet radio industry to basically lock down all of their content with so much DRM that, before long, the shit will be gushing out of your tweeters like a veritable torrent of necessarily emasculated gism. I say this because there’s really no other way of ‘protecting’ the music broadcast on web radio from the claws of stream-ripping software; although it does seem to appear that no one even knows if it would actually be feasible to fully implement DRM in the web radio sphere.

It’ll be interesting to see what transpires from here. SoundExchange’s stance appears to be a blatant attempt at self-aggrandizement -- they want to make sure everyone knows that they still consider themselves to be the fucking daddy when it comes to this issue, despite last week’s beatdown. The difference is that the imposition of web radio fees, when compared to the other agendas the industry has been pursuing of late, is one where the various arms of government have not currently thrown their support fully behind the RIAA line. Added to that, the vagueness of the language used by SoundExchange suggests that even THEY don’t really know what they’re proposing here. Fun all 'round. Except if you listen to internet radio, of course.

As is always the case with this issue, you can read more at SaveNetRadio.

Newsfeed