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Small Webcasters get Powerful New Ally 362

Posted by Hemos
from the beat-the-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On, Sunday, October 20, 2002, the RIAA's subsidiary, SoundExchange, was set to introduce draconian new fees on small internet webcasters - fees that were designed to drive those webcasters out of business and preserve the RIAA's monopoly on the distribution of music in North America. One of those small webcasters is the Triangle's classical music station, WCPE - quite possibly the finest classical music station in the world. Now it turns out that WCPE has an 800 lb gorilla in their corner, and he's set his sights on the RIAA."
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Small Webcasters get Powerful New Ally

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  • If you read the full article, you'll notice that Helms' office mentions that they heard from Religious broadcasters in the area that felt that the burden would still be too great on them.

    Nevertheless, nice to see that even the Religious Right is "getting the idea" in terms of dealing with the RIAA...
  • Double WOW (Score:5, Funny)

    by Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:45PM (#4497204) Homepage
    Jesse Helms? I never would have thought that he was 800lbs...
  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jaybird144 (558619)
    I'm confused...is Jesse Helms fighting for or against the webcasters? From the /. post, I thought it was on behalf of them, but the article seems to say the opposite:

    "Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican, on Thursday night blocked legislation designed to ease the financial impact on small Webcasters."

    Does someone "in the know" want to clarify? Please?

    • by Viewsonic (584922) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:48PM (#4497244)
      It says he stopped it because smaller webcasters said the new 'lower' rates would be worse than the 'higher' ones after a certain amount of time and would drive them out of business. Even the new 'lower' rates were too high for some of them.. So im guessing it'll go from .07 per listener to maybe .01 which would still be too much IMO.. RIAA doesn't deserve squat for free advertising. RIAA should be paying webcasters to play the music.
      • by peter_gzowski (465076) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:07PM (#4497466) Homepage
        Jesse Helms blocked the legislation because the lower rates were still too high for many webcasters. However, these lower rates were not worse for the webcasters than the higher ones. The legislation was to change the rate from 0.07 per listener to some percentage of the webcasters' profits. For most webcasters, about 10%, for more profitable channels, 12%. However good intentioned Mr. Helms' blocking was, it will force webcasters to start paying (retroactively) fees based on the old system. They don't have to start ponying up all the dough quite yet, though, as this Salon article [salon.com] details.

        You are right that the RIAA should be paying the webcasters, just as they do with the regular radio station promoters (that's a whole other problem, though).
      • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:10PM (#4497508)
        RIAA should be paying webcasters to play the music.

        No... that would give them too much control over what tunes get played through web casting. Just make it even, with nobody paying anything, and there's a greater chance that people will get to hear the music they like rather than what the RIAA is pushing on them. It's not a perfect chance, though, because we'll always be subject to the whim of the person or group doing the webcasting, or perhaps wherever their financing comes from.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yobgod Ababua (68687) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:51PM (#4497276)
      I believe that was the infamous legislation which had a last minute 26 page addendum tacked on that changed it from being designed to ease finanical impact on small Webcasters into something deisgned to save a mere handful of the largest small webcasters and leave the others to hang.

      It snuck through the house before people realized it had changed. So blocking it in the Senate actually was acting on the side of the small webcasters.

      Check out the previous news on the subject for more details.
    • by robbo (4388)

      For some insight into the bill and why it's bad, read this slashdot story [slashdot.org].
      I agree that the Yahoo story is confusing, and it gives one pause to wonder why they're spinning it as bad for webcasters. Is there some hidden agenda?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Politics makes strange bedfellows.
  • by domninus.DDR (582538) <domninus@hotmail.com> on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:47PM (#4497219) Homepage
    The best trance stations on the internet went down because of this law, and my music selection has hurt since. The only one left is Digitally Imported, which is ok but I like Tag's Trance and XTC radio better. A "dance" radio station started broadcasting in dallas recently, it is ok but is very repetitive. And I did buy two or three cds of artists I had heard on tag's or xtc, but now I buy none. Well, those were import CDs anyway and RIAA probably didnt get anything from them.
    • The best trance stations on the internet went down because of this law, and my music selection has hurt since.

      Fuck internet radio stations. Make your own playlist. [turnstyle.com] They may have killed mp3.com's personal jukebox, but they haven't yet killed fair use (completely).
    • by curunir (98273) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:25PM (#4497664) Homepage Journal
      The best trance stations on the internet went down because of this law.

      I hope you're referring to the DMCA and not HR5469 (the one that Helms killed in the Senate). The latter would have kept DI on the air permanently and probably would have brought TTT back on the air (I'm sure he could have raised enough in donations to pay the proposed fees).

      Everyone here seems to be under the misguided impression that killing this bill was a good thing because it didn't do enough to ensure that small webcasters could continue broadcasting. But people fail to realize that the alternative to this bill isn't likely to be a new bill. It'll most likely mean that CARP rates will go into effect (should SoundExchange choose to enforce them) and the stations that would have been able to be financially viable under the proposed bill, will no longer be.
  • by FreeLinux (555387) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:47PM (#4497227)
    How does this hurt the RIAA. This bill was going to forcibly reduce the royalties that these stations would have to pay. Now, with the bill blocked, they have to pay the higher rate or opt for the RIAA's "reduced" flat rate.

    I'm not seeing how Helms, the 800 pound gorilla?, is benefitting the small broadcasters.
    • by sweetooth (21075) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:52PM (#4497287) Homepage
      With the bill blocked the small webcasters may have to pay a higher rate initially (or the flatfee), but have a better chance of getting more reasonable legislation passed rather than having to fight the legislation after it's passed.
      • Let's just hope that interest in the bill doesn't disappear. It would be too bad, now that they are paying a higher rate, if this got shoved aside by more pressing issues. Like, umm, ah... an Iraqi war?
    • by cornice (9801) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:53PM (#4497305)
      You can: A, pay this wildly insane rate that will put you out of business. B, pay this lesser wildly insane rate that will put you out of business. C, hold out for a better deal.
      • by FreeLinux (555387) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:06PM (#4497460)
        Now they have to pay the higher rate and gamble on whether they get any deal at all. Had Helms allowed the bill to pass, the small broadcasters would be paying a smaller fee and could follow up with another bill to gamble on.

        A bird in hand....
      • Why not choose:

        D, band together with other small broadcasters and split the RIAA fee. So long as you source all of your material from a single location, you only have to pay once.

        Oh and...if $500/year will "put you out of business", you were never "in business" to begin with.
    • Do the math (Score:5, Informative)

      by martissimo (515886) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:10PM (#4497499)
      the difference between that "reduced flat rate" and the 70 cents per 1000 listeners per song can really be quite huge (even to very small stations).

      lets say a station reaches 100 people on average and at 4 minutes per track averages 15 songs an hour. that's 360 songs a day, or 131,400 a year... at the other rate of 7 cents per 100 listeners it works out to a fee of $9,198 a year. to someone like this a flat rate of $500 seems like a pretty huge difference... heck this flat rate would come to almost half as much even if you only averaged 10 listeners (500 vs 918).

      too bad the flat rate is only good till congress acts on the pending legislation, because this deal would probably actually be fairly viable for quite a few webcasters
    • That's short term thinking. What are you trying to do? Make next quarter's numbers look good so your stock will go up? Now we all know where that leads. Think longer term, at least past next Tuesday. This is like accepting points on your mortgage in exchange for a significant rate reduction.

  • Why or Why not (Score:3, Informative)

    by hobbitsage (178961) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:48PM (#4497234)
    Really when it comes down to brass tacks ... when the rubber meets the road ... Does it truly mater why he did it? Politics makes strange bedfellows. This is evident. You don't have to like them to have them help your cause. US and Soviet Union in WW2 had the same enemy and worked together. Just need to watch people that you ally with in on situation in case they swig opposite on others that you are for.
  • by asscroft (610290) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:49PM (#4497255)
    After all, he specializes in MP3s, and his songs are streamed from his site and mp3.com, but then again, one of his song is called "Why won't Jesse Helms just hury up and die"

    I guess we now know why, he's meant to save the webcasters.
  • by Dr.Seuss (94326) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:51PM (#4497268)
    Well, you can bet the RIAA won't make the mistake of overlooking his campaign funding [opensecrets.org] again! ;)
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:51PM (#4497270) Homepage Journal
    "...the Triangle's classical music station..."

    What the hell is "the Triangle"? And why do they have a classical music station. Now I can understand a square might have a classical station, or maybe a pentagram would have an acid rock station.

    Maybe it's because they use triangles in symphonies. What kind of station would a circle have, I wonder?
  • It's a Shakedown (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LunaticLeo (3949)
    From a Senator like Helmes, this is a old school shakedown of the Copyright industry. Once, he gets enough money his "objections" will disappear.

    I have a low opinion of Helmes not because of his purported politics, but because of the crassness of his behavior as a politician/campaigner.
    • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:10PM (#4497505)
      Someone mentioned this before, but he got modded to 0 for some reason. Sen Helms is not running for reelection. His term is up in January. There is no "shakedown".

    • From a Senator like Helmes, this is a old school shakedown of the Copyright industry. Once, he gets enough money his "objections" will disappear.

      It better happen damn fast, then.. he's not running for re-election. His seat is being pursued by Erskine Bowles and Elizabeth Dole [wral.com] (yes, that Elizabeth Dole [elizabethdole.org]).

      Given the choice.. I'd prefer Helms. The campaign in this state has been utterly shameful, bordering on laughable.
      • I wish I could join with you on the laughable sentiment; unfortunately I can't. (Disclaimer: even though I work for Nando Media [nandomedia.com], sister company to the News & Observer [newsobserver.com], my opinions are my own).

        From where I sit the campaigns have been utterly shameful, mired in grime and innuendo. I never had an opinion on Senator Helms, one way or the other, but this much I do know: he can't be worse than Mr. Bowles or Mrs. Dole. Though they each paint the other with brushes of deceit and inneptitude, they both appear to be exactly the same.

        I know as a North Carolina resident I should excercise my right to vote, but in this case, I'm boycotting that race.
    • From a Senator like Helmes, this is a old school shakedown...I have a low opinion of Helmes...

      Dude, at least spell his name correctly. Misspelling it puts you on par with people who yammer on about "Linux Torvalds"...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:51PM (#4497279)
    Beethoven and Mozart will compose more symphonies if they can put bread on their table.
  • classical music? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ashish Kulkarni (454988) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:52PM (#4497289) Homepage
    You know, it's really sad to see classical music being affected such. People who listen to classical music are a dying breed...although I'm a big fan of it myself, people simply do not like classical anymore nowadays. Also, the availibility of good classical music is thin where I live...people simply buy the latest songs or just pirate them and are happy with most of the (in my opinion) crap music that exists out there. Sigh...there goes the chance for people to listen to good classical music in their homes, hassle-free.

    Folks, if you dislike the RIAA's tactics and would like to listen to some alternative music, please give classical music a try...there's nothing like listening to some good ol' music.

    • Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nugneant (553683) <c45kyew02@snea k e m ail.com> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:55PM (#4497940) Homepage Journal
      I work in a large CD store on the East Coast (Which one? I'll give you a hint, we've been financially fucked ever since the late 1990s, only partially due to P2P, more due to some really stupid decisions made out in California [that's another hint]). This gives me a unique opportunity to get a mildly decent idea of what people are buying - there's an almost representative sample of college kids, ten year olds, minivan moms, old fogies, hippie burnouts, and Dr. Joe Average in his SUV. Granted, classical music is not the largest seller in this store. But the people who buy classical music buy in BULK. It's not uncommon for one customer to slap down three Benjamins (that's $300 for those of you not 'hip' to my street slang) at a time for his latest classical bonaza. And several "artists" (Charlotte Church, Bocelli, Sarah Vaughn, Diana Krall) have reguarly placed in the top 25 sellers for the store - during weeks when Dave Matthews, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other mainstream artists came out with new releases. Granted, I'm not a fan of any of these artists (and Ms. Krall is slightly more in the jazz/vocals realm) - but what's important is that these people are selling in big numbers, which means SOMEONE out there is buying the stuff. To say that "people don't like classical music nowadays" is a rather ignorant statement to make. One of the reasons why classical doesn't often make it to the charts is that, let's take an example... Beethoven's 9th symphony. Would you like the Berlin Philharmonic [amazon.com], the Vienna Philharmonic [amazon.com], the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Ensemb-- do you understand my point? There's a wealth of different versions to choose from, and so the already merely-moderate consumer base is spread even thinner.

      Granted, classical isn't usually that popular with the under-30 crowd (generalization). But it's been constantly popular with the elderly for the past three or four generations - and those aren't the same elderly, because OLD PEOPLE DIE. However, new ones are always cropping up to take their place. You can usually tell them by the Oldsmobiles with the stuffed animals in the back.
  • by f97tosc (578893) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:52PM (#4497301)
    What is the role of the government in all of this and why is there a need to regulate these prices?

    If I am an independent musician, can't I just make a deal with a local webcaster at a rate that we negotiate?

    Does anybody know?

    Tor
    • What is the role of the government in all of this and why is there a need to regulate these prices? If I am an independent musician, can't I just make a deal with a local webcaster at a rate that we negotiate? Does anybody know?

      Shut up boy, you'll do what you are told, when you are told. You are nothing without a record deal from a company that is controlled by the RIAA. You are not a recording artist until we say you are a recording artist.

      Sincerely,

      Hilary Rosen

      Sarcastic as it seems, it rings pretty true to life.

      On a personal note...

      I just ordered my first CD in over a year. Rise Above [21361.com] which is 23 Blag Flag songs to benefit the West Memphis Three [wm3.org]. It looks like it will be awesome, from the song list.

    • If I am an independent musician, can't I just make a deal with a local webcaster at a rate that we negotiate?

      IANAWYNTBTKTFS (I am not a whatever you need to be to know this for sure), but I think you're always free to do this as an independent, or even through your label. The issue here is the mandatory licensing terms which allow broadcasters (and webcasters) to play songs without explicit permission as long as they pay the royalty fees set out in the law. Otherwise, stations would have to negiotiate individually with each and every copyright holder in order to buy permission to play songs. Now I might be somewhat wrong in that stations may need to pay the RIAA no matter what (even if they only play independent music) just because it was the easiest way to set this up in the olden days.

      Similar mechanisms have been proposed to allow anyone to manufacture life saving drugs or use old software patents as long as they pay a set royalty rate. The rates would presumably be higher than what you might be able to get if you negiotiated your own terms and higher than what the original company would normally charge.
      • Actually I believe in the case of an independant artist, the webcaster still has to pay the fees, and then the artist can, in theory, claim them back at a later date upon production of an agreement between the webcaster and the artist.

        So basically you still have to pay, whatever. Imagine the hassles if you are broadcasting several independant artists.

  • Stations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:53PM (#4497304)
    Chemlab [chemlab.org]
    Philosomatika [philosomatika.com]
    FlareSound [flaresound.com]
    Link it
    Love it

    Don't forget to email your congressmen

    Who obvious has a filter set up to delete emails from constituents.
  • by seosamh (158550) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:54PM (#4497319)
    I'm not a big fan of Jesse Helms, but it appears
    that he is doing exactly what he should do as a
    senator for North Carolina. He's representing the
    interests of the state's residents in the Senate,
    vs. representing the interests of an out of state
    campaign donor.

    How many states stand to gain under the webcasting
    rates as approved in the House? Will there be a lot
    of new jobs pursuing small webcasters who haven't
    paid up? Will there be a lot of new technical skills
    dispersed through the population by reducing the
    number of webcasters through expensive licensing
    and/or royalies fees? Will there be a boom in artisic
    expression thanks to reduced chances for artists to
    gain exposure?

    Helms is right on this one. I wish more legislators
    were looking out for their own constituencies on
    matters like this, DMCA, etc.
    • Yah, but now he can afford to do that, as he's 81, and not seeking re-election to the senate this year. In days of old, he'd have his hand out waiting for corporate donations, just like all the rest of the politicians that are supposed to be "representing" the citizens of their respective states.

      I guess after 30 years in senate, he doesn't need any more corporate handouts.
    • WTF???

      The bill he killed would have allowed many mid-level webcasters to stay on the air. Now, it's only by the grace of the RIAA (SoundExchange) that they're allowed to do so. Helms is doing the RIAA's bidding under the guise of representing small webcasters.

      Small Webcasters have been griping that this bill doesn't do enough for them and would rather see the entire webcasting industry destroyed rather than have part of it live on to continue the fight against the RIAA.

      If helms was truly representing his constituents, he would be thinking about the hundreds of thousands of NC residents who listen to web radio rather a few confused and bitter webcasters who feel that they've been slighted by a process that was hopeless to begin with.
  • RTFA. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:55PM (#4497339) Homepage
    The article says that the bill was DESIGNED to ease the financial burden on small webcasters, but in all reality, it probably would not have.

    They were to be charged .07 per person per song in royalties. Instead, at this point they can pay $500/yr (from 1998 to present, IIRC) to cover their costs.

    The small webcasters themselves had not been consulted when the original law was drafted and therefore felt that they would be put out of business by these "small" fees. .07/per song+person could raise some HEFTY fees.
    • So how is their situation any better because the bill was blocked? Do you think the RIAA actually wanted this bill? Do you think the RIAA will now negociate in good faith to give webcasters a better deal?

      The only reason the RIAA negociated this deal was for good PR (or lack of bad PR...the webcasters who would have benefitted from this spent a lot of effort rallying support against CARP). Now, with the bill killed, the RIAA gets to collect higher fees, kill off internet radio and not get blamed for it.

      Meanwhile, small webcasters have managed to kill off the only ally that they had (medium-sized webcasters). Without the organized lobbying put forth by the medium-sized webcasters, nothing will get done and CARP will kill off internet radio.
  • Helms and NC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cfulmer (3166) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:57PM (#4497355) Homepage Journal
    So, Jesse Helms has not held onto his Senate seat for as long as he has by not taking care of his constituents. However, he's retiring this year, which means that he's not going to be able to do this for much longer. It's unclear whether either of the folks running for his seat (Elizabeth Dole and Erskine Bowles) will take the same position.

    The real question is... Why are Rep. Howard Coble (Also North Carolina - R) and Sen. Ernest Hollings (South Carolina - D) not doing the same thing?
  • by sakeneko (447402) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:59PM (#4497374) Homepage Journal

    I'd call Senator Jesse Helms [senate.gov] at least a 2 ton gorilla myself.... ;>

    It is nice to see that Jesse Helms isn't taking a vacation in his last few months in office. (He's a short-timer -- he retires at teh end of the year.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:00PM (#4497394)
    I heard awhile back that Jesse Helms was threatening awhile back to throw his weight to get the DMCA repealed if the big corps didn't stop abusing it. Seems he thought the bill was a good idea when it was passed, but believes the ways its being used are not the ways it was intended.

    Now this is happening. But this article is so poorly written-- it starts out saying that jesse helms blocked a bill providing netcaster relief, but then later seems to be saying he only did this becuase he was holding out for a bill that gave even more netcaster relief.

    So, is the idea that he actually believes the copyright laws should be in the public benefit? If so, okay, it's always good when "conservatives" actually attempt to uphold the principles the country was founded on as opposed to trying to disassemble them, but if that's the case why hasn't he actually done anything against the DMCA except for some public whining about it? And what does he think about the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which is one of the biggest sources of food for corporate abuse of copyright? Has he just not read it?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm from N.C. and I'm shocked. I'm used to Jesse always being on the side of evil, but here he is casting a vote for the little guy. Has the world gone mad?
  • It's good that more time will be spent in examination of this issue. Time is crucial for all of these issues of regulation of technology. Legislation and regulation of technology happens so quickly that people read about the decisions after they have been made and only after it is too late to give any input. Where is the public debate about these issues? It is often limited to places like /. where only a small portion of people can/will take part.

    It's not just hanging chads that disenfranchise voters.
  • Hmm, classical music (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:09PM (#4497492) Homepage
    A large chunk of classical music manuscripts are out of copyright. That means that if you can find someone to perform it, you can create free music. How are musicians paid? Recordings of concerts, where the costs are already met by selling tickets, might be one way. The quality won't be as high as a specially-made recording but it might be good enough. Whether the performers would agree depends on how much money they would get from enforcing copyright on the recording and trying to sell it commercially (not much I suspect).
  • er, no.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by slothdog (3329) <slothdog AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:11PM (#4497510) Homepage
    say what? Helms blocked the bill which would have *lowered* fees for small webcasters. (Read the article!) The only reason the webcasters got a reprieve is that SoundExchange (the company that collects the royalties) decided to not collect payments until the legislation is passed.
    • Re:er, no.... (Score:2, Informative)

      by PhoenixFlare (319467)
      Better read the article again yourself, buddy.

      This bill was blocked because, in the long run, fees would be HIGHER.

      "Among the objectors to the bill were two prominent religious broadcasters and a classical music station, Lanier said. They told Helms that the long-term precedent that would be set by the agreement was worse than having to pay higher royalty rates in the short term, Lanier said. "

      Someone did the math above, and it's almost 10x more per year using the "lowered" plan on average.
  • So under the law currently on the books, if I sit down with my buds every week and record some songs and then stream a random mix of them off the server in the closet in my dorm room for other students to listen to, the government expects me to pay $0.07 per song to the RIAA?

    Or do I only have to pay $0.07 per Britney Spears track? If that's the case, why don't all the webcasters just play independent music? Doesn't Britney Spears' CD explicity prohibit public exhibition anyway?

    Erik
  • by Anonymous Coward
    he is very very responsive to his constituents. Every story I've ever heard about people contacting him for help (not necessarily positions on issues, but help) has had results.

    I only hope that the senator who replaces him will be so responsive, and not just pretend to be from North Carolina...
  • by cpw (613005)
    What if my stream ONLY plays content that I created and that I hold copyright on? I have a stream that plays a three hour loop of the Best of my radio show, so I own the copyright on that and it's all that's on the stream... Why should I pay the RIAA for this? I'm not signed, and I'm just doing it in an effort to get more listeners for my show (which is webcast by my University, which does/will pay royalities for all music it streams).

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated...
    • Then don't pay (Score:3, Informative)

      I have a stream that plays a three hour loop of the Best of my radio show, so I own the copyright on that and it's all that's on the stream... Why should I pay the RIAA for this?

      You shouldn't. What makes you think you should?

  • by TheGreenLantern (537864) <thegreenlntrn@yahoo.com> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:23PM (#4497648) Homepage Journal
    This is great and all that the bill was held up, but Jesse Helms? The man has 9 toes in the grave, and will be lucky if he lives long enough to retire at the end of this year.
  • Its Their Music... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jsonic (458317) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:29PM (#4497703)
    Why do webcasters have ANY say in what the RIAA charges for allowing them to broadcast their music? If they think it is too much, then why not play music from another group that is more affordable?

    How is this any different than somebody deciding to sell Ford cars and then complaining that Ford won't give them the cars to sell for $1 each?

    If somebody owns something, then they can charge whatever they want to allow other people to use it. If you think that the charge is too much for the product, then DON'T BUY IT!

    (It's possible that I'm completely missing some pertinent facts about this issue. If so please reply.)
    • Yes, you're posting from a hidebound libertarian perspective in which the approach you advocate would actually work the best in practice.

      To the extent that this isn't true, you can expect to see examples of people frustrating you by making it more complicated than that. Wasn't it Einstein who said things should be made as simple as possible- but NOT simpler?

  • by Uttles (324447) <uttles@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:41PM (#4497818) Homepage Journal
    The same day that this story is posted, Whitney Houston's new album is leaked to the internet [foxnews.com] a full month before its release date. Awesome. Die RIAA, DIE!
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:47PM (#4497877) Homepage Journal

    The legislation that Helms blocked would have charged small webcasters a fee that, frankly, seems pretty trivial. If your margins are so thin that $500 per year makes the difference between making money or losing it, well, what you're running is not a business, it's a hobby. And, for that matter, I can easily see even hobbyists being willing to pay that much money. Heck, it's going to cost them more than that just for the data connection capable of supporting a half-dozen streams.

    Now, I think small webcasters who broadcast their own material have a legitimate beef if the bill requires them to pay the RIAA, but for webcasters who are broadcasting a significant amount of RIAA music, then, frankly, it seems like a pretty decent deal.

    I also think the artists have a legitimate beef, because practically none of this money will make it back to them. Since there's no accounting for individual songs required, there's no way to decided how much of the money should go to which artist. To record labels, that means the artists get none of it.

    In summary, there seem to be problems with the way this is being done, but they're the same problems that exist with the Audio CD-R taxes -- the money goes to the Established Labels, regardless of what music is actually webcasted/copied, and the artists don't get any of it. But the amount of money is so trivial that I can't see it causing any real problems, even for semi-serious hobbyists.

    • the bill he helped stop was not the 500 dollar fee, the 500 dollar fee is what SoundForge decided to allow until the bill currently blocked in the Senate's situation is resolved.

      The blocked bill which did pass in the House underwent some very radical last minute changes due to negotiations with a small group of webcasters and the RIAA. A bit more info about what actually happened here
  • by technoCon (18339) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:24PM (#4498203) Homepage Journal
    Funny how getting on the right side of the royalty fiasco changes the typical slashdotter's attitude toward Jesse Helms and the religious right.


    almost as ironic as how RIAA companies (whose artists gleefully trash the Ten Commandments) whine, "thou shalt not steal copyrighted tunes."

  • Ugh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by nullard (541520) <nullprogram AT voicesinmyhead DOT cc> on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:35PM (#4498298) Journal
    Ugh! I just agreed with Jesse Helms. I feel dirty.
  • by sstory (538486) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:56PM (#4498480) Homepage
    I've been awaiting the damage to WCPE for some time. Happy to see that they might not be affected so greatly. WCPE is a great station where they play classical music and DON'T just get money from the government, like PBS. It's a good example of how the market has demonstrated the ability to provide something people think it can't, more efficiently than the government.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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