Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government News Your Rights Online

Webcaster Alliance Threatens To Sue RIAA 303

Posted by timothy
from the let's-get-straight-to-the-smiting dept.
detroitindustrial writes "The Washington Post reports that the Webcaster Alliance is threatening to sue the RIAA under the Sherman Antitrust Act. In their letter to the RIAA, the Webcaster Alliance alleges that the RIAA and the Voice of Webcasters negotiated in collusion and, 'were apparently intent on either eliminating their competitors and/or raising barriers to entry in the market for small commercial webcasting.' It goes on to say that the RIAA also wanted to eliminate smaller webcasters, who tend to play more independent material, in order to maintain their monopoly on music distribution."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Webcaster Alliance Threatens To Sue RIAA

Comments Filter:
  • by Khakionion (544166) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:39PM (#6403354)
    It's about time. The subject line refers to an article on The Onion about RIAA's intolerance for FM radio stations giving away music. Unfortunately, it is a very real problem here on the Internet. Hopefully this, in conjunction with the backlash noted on The Register today (it's on Slashdot's "Register" sidebar), even Joe Sixpack will wake up to the RIAA's ridiculous behavior.
    • It's true though, radio stations do have to pay for the music they play. And not just for the recording either. They also have to license the words of the song and the notes of the music...

      And they probably pay a lot more than $2000 a year...

      This sucks for commercial-free internet radio.
    • by LostCluster (625375) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:02PM (#6403538)
      Recording and radio are two very different models for distributing music. Recorded music is sold in a play-when-you-want-it form that the artist and their promoters expect to be paid for. Radio is the establishment of a channel through which music is pushed, and the artists see this as a promotional vehicle.

      Artists need radio airplay to start their carrers. Hardly anybody will pay to hear an artist they've never heard before, so it's a critical first step in becoming an established artist so they can make sales with CDs and concert tickets. It's the free samples they give away so people will be more likely to buy the products.

      The thing is, the RIAA tries to keep radio stations on a tight leash. If you want to have early access to the hot new song from established artist A, you have to play the songs from the not-yet-known-to-anybody artists B, C, and D. They RIAA tries hard to claim that there's not a specific quid-pro-quo, but everybody knows its the stations that are most cooperative in playing the arists the label wants played that get the most access to that label's popular artists.

      This is why the RIAA would like to see the small time indie webstreamers vanish... if they're playing indie music they'll create demand for the artists who aren't being distributed by the RIAA members, and effectively steal market share from them. If it were possible for an artist to establish credibilty through non-RIAA means such as indie webstreamers and P2P downloads, and then get thier songs onto over-the-air radio stations, that artist could then enter the concert market and bypass the RIAA altogether. The RIAA would like the rule that you must already have an RIAA-published CD before being heard radio channels to hold true because that cements their role in the process, however the technology now exists to promote an artist without ever having a CD... and that's what really scares the RIAA.
      • Bulshit (Score:3, Interesting)

        by poptones (653660)
        This is why the RIAA would like to see the small time indie webstreamers vanish... if they're playing indie music they'll create demand for the artists who aren't being distributed by the RIAA members, and effectively steal market share from them

        There's nothing at all stopping these "broadcasters" from playing non-RIAA label music. There's no way the RIAA can prevent it. And this fact is irrelevant, because it's not the non-RIAA music these "indies" want. The RIAA is fighting to retain control of their ow

        • by lpret (570480) <lpret42@hNETBSDotmail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:41PM (#6403781) Homepage Journal
          I was following you until you said: " they see the RIAA as the master of the market, and lawsuits like these only perpeptuate that control."

          I don't see how a lawsuit against them will help them. If you mean that it acknowledges that they are indeed the top dog, that has already been conceded by all parties.

          But I will say that after listening to internet radio, not only has my musical taste become more mature, but I have bought more CDs since these groups cannot be found on P2P. Indie groups are the future of music -- and the RIAA is scared of the future because it will trump their pop music.

        • Re:Bulshit (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AlaskanUnderachiever (561294) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:43PM (#6403789) Homepage
          More importantly, they're the most anal retentive paperwork carrying of any broadcaster out there. Try to escape fees and you're going to have to be able to sit down and show EVERY song you played since you went "independent". I should know I worked for one. We had an entire room that was devoted to nothing BUT proving we were 100% legal. Yes you can do it, but you better be prepared to not only fight but have the ammo to figh in the first place.
        • Re:Bulshit (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LostCluster (625375) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:50PM (#6403834)
          The broadcasters, like you, have no argument here. If they want to play music from unsigned artists, they can. And if they would sign those artists to contracts before the RIAA gets to them, granting them rights to play given works no matter what, then the RIAA couldn't even prevent it after they signed the artists.

          You missed something here. Signing such a contract giving rights to play to your early recordings before signing an RIAA contract just doesn't happen. Because signing such a deal makes it certain that an RIAA contract isn't coming your way. If you try to promote yourself the RIAA's system, then the RIAA's system will see to it that they are closed to you. Any radio station that plays even a small ammount non-RIAA music is punished by non-access. They'll find whatever artist is hot at the moment in their section of music all over the closest station in format to them in their area. It becomes very hard to compete when your opponent has all of the major artist exclusives such as interviews and local-premire songs and you don't.

          The broadcasters, like you, have no argument here.
          I'm a broadcaster? I didn't know that...

          But the artists aren't going to do that because they see the RIAA as the master of the market, and lawsuits like these only perpeptuate that control.
          Hold on, did you RFTA? The RIAA isn't suing webcasters, a group of webcasters are suing the RIAA for anti-competitive behavior during the legal process that set the webcasting rates because they presented an agreement between the RIAA and the a group "representing the webcasting industry" that didn't include any representation for them, yet they're bound by this statutory price too. They're basically accusing the RIAA of cheating Microsoft-style.
          • You missed something here. Signing such a contract giving rights to play to your early recordings before signing an RIAA contract just doesn't happen. Because signing such a deal makes it certain that an RIAA contract isn't coming your way.

            Wrong. Do you think a major label would turn down a chance to sign another Moby? Because they have contracts to let other channels play the music they recorded before they were signed?

            Go to Detroit and you can find, in just about any record collector store, early singl

            • Re:Bulshit (Score:4, Insightful)

              by recursiv (324497) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @08:37PM (#6404403) Homepage Journal
              Do you think a major label would turn down a chance to sign another Moby?
              Hell fucking yes they would turn down a chance to sign "another Moby". They don't need another Moby. Moby is nothing special. They can create an artist out of nothing who has no talent that sells twice as much as Moby. They do it all the time.

              Go to Detroit and you can find, in just about any record collector store, early singles and EPs from Seger, Nugent, Romantics, MC5 - music that wasn't on a major label. Sure didn't stop those guys from becoming arms of the machine.
              Yes, but you have to go to a record collector store to get those. Those certainly aren't being sold at Best Buy. I'll bet those albums didn't sell very well compared to their later sales figures either.

              My position is actually that the RIAA exists because there is actually a demand for the service it provides. People don't know what music to like. The service the RIAA provides is to tell them. I'd wager that if the RIAA was abolished, a similar organization would form to take its place.

              There is no doubt that music exists outside the RIAA. People who actually like music already know this. They already know how to get music they like. But the majority of people don't really care about music that much. Certainly not enough to spend time researching different genres and artists. It's much easier just to be told what to like. And there's money to made doing the telling, so it's only natural that the RIAA is so big.
        • by cait56 (677299) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:53PM (#6403852) Homepage

          I am fully in favor of music creators being able to collect payment for their work. However, there needs to be some fairness between over-the- air broadcasters and over-the-net webcasters.

          I fail to see any reason why the artist or label is entitled to more payment because the "broadcaster" is using the Internet to deliver the music.

          The Anti-trust act may be fully applicable if the real point is that the RIAA and record labels prefer the over-the-air broadcasters (with heavily concentrated ownership) to the truly independent webcasters.

          And anyone who believes that radio broadcasters exercise "independent" judgement in their selection of music obviously never listens to the radio.

          • You're placing too much emphasis on that "indepedence" thing.

            Radio stations carry programming that they think will appeal to their audience. Some stations go after a broad mainstream market, so they program mainstream music. That music happens to be contolled by the RIAA, but even if it wasn't, they'd still play it.

            So-called independent stations and webcasters also carry programming to attract their chosen audience. If this turns out to be cheaper non-RIAA music, perhaps the cheapness has more to do with
            • The objective of every broadcaster, commercial and non-commercial, is to attract and keep an audience. If the station puts being independent ahead of playing something the audience likes, it will flounder.

              Great idea. It would even work if every radio station were independently owned and operated, trying to maximize its revenue in honest competition.

              You need to review some recent FCC "rulings" (i.e. adminstrative acts of sabotage against the spirit of the law that they are supposed to be enforcing).

        • Re:Bulshit (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Surak (18578) *
          There's nothing at all stopping these "broadcasters" from playing non-RIAA label music. There's no way the RIAA can prevent it. And this fact is irrelevant, because it's not the non-RIAA music these "indies" want. The RIAA is fighting to retain control of their own poduct - they cannot control product to which they have NOT paid for rights.

          But under *their* terms. A major radio station in Detroit *does* play unsigned music. Despite *numerous* requests from their listeners to expand this playing of local
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:40PM (#6403360)
    Monopolistic Corporations sue you.

    Oh wait..
  • Bout Time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Izago909 (637084) <tauisgod@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:42PM (#6403389)
    It's about damn time. They should have been stopped when they extorted royalties from webcasters who would never play any pop filth that they 'represent'. Why should someone have to pay royalties to a body that doesn't hold any of the rights to the content that's being played?

    SomaFM forever!!
    • Re:Bout Time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrLint (519792)
      Can you substantiate this claim? It seems that it would be patently illegal to ask for payment to play music that the RIAA members dont have copyright on.
      • Re:Bout Time (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        That's the point, it SHOULD be illegal, but because of bullshit laws, it isn't.
        • Which laws? Can someone please provide at least anecdotal evidence that someone was forced to pay the RIAA when no RIAA represented music was played?
      • but illegal no sadly not, in fact it is legal and the LAW OF THE LAND. After all our elected/payed official have stood up for the rights of those that put them in office and made a broad statement, that the average netzine is a HACKER, a THIEF who given any chance will steal anything, ohhh and we are all terrorist supporters, are anti american way, hate god and most of us are sexual deviants in some way or the spam would not be soo bad...If we will just step aside, let the government and corporation 'fix' t
      • Can you substantiate this claim? It seems that it would be patently illegal to ask for payment to play music that the RIAA members dont have copyright on.

        I agree, but that's basically what statutory licensing is all about.

        Anyway, here is the proof you asked for. It's in section 114(b)(2) of the Copyright Code.

        (2) Statutory licensing of certain transmissions. -- The performance of a sound recording publicly by means of a subscription digital audio transmission not exempt under paragraph (1), an elig

      • Re:Bout Time (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @07:13PM (#6403975) Journal
        Can you substantiate this claim?

        Easily done. The law that enforces the royalties on streaming music (originally CARP, now the Small Webcaster Settlement Act) declares that Soundexchange (A division of the RIAA) to be the official receiver and distributor for all noninteractive digital performance royalties (from their FAQ [soundexchange.com]).

        What I would like to see would be for some small bands to set up their own streams, pay Soundexchange their $500 minimum yearly royalty, then sue Soundforge in small claims court, if Soundforge refuses to pay the full $500 back. In the absence of a contract permitting Soundexchange to keep any of the money, there is no reasonable expectation that any of that money belongs to Soundexchange.

        From those judgements against soundexchange (maybe if enough showed up, a class action suit could be had?), it would be interesting to see where it could go next... perhaps some kind of action against them being the Royal Royalty Collector since they have been shown (by the lawsuits) to be behaving in bad faith, and that an independent company should be responsbile for royalty distribution.
      • Re:Bout Time (Score:5, Informative)

        by LostCluster (625375) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @07:16PM (#6403991)
        Yep, that's the "statutory royalty" clause.

        Basically, it's the same thing as radio broadcasters. Because it'd be impossible to accurately account for all the micropayments involved, radio stations simply make an all-covering per-listener-times-per-song (take the average number of songs per hour, multiply by hours in a month, multiply by the station's average rating) fee to an group that divides up the money. Some margin of error mistakes happen, but it's a pretty fair system.

        The problem comes that the rate that OTA radio is paying per-listener-per-song is about half of what web streamed radio pays per-lister-per-song, which were the fees that came down and killed most of webstreaming. This group is now accusing the RIAA of cheating during the process that determined the fee to get a more-favorable-to-the-RIAA outcome.
    • Why should someone have to pay royalties to a body that doesn't hold any of the rights to the content that's being played?

      No, they represent the companies that own the rights to the recordings, and these companies entered into this arrangement of their own free will. There are some labels not represented by the RIAA; presumably, the stations are free to seek their own deal with them individually. So what angle are you taking on this - I don't like payola either, but they do have every right to do it.

    • Do you have a reference for this accusation. It sounds like BS to me.
  • Good For Them.

    /me applauds

  • by Dumbush (676200) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:43PM (#6403395)
    Is there anything we can do to help Wedcaster Alliance on this case
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:43PM (#6403398)
    because if you don't behave, I too will write a letter I won't show you threatening to sue you.

    And then I'll tell slashdot. Muahahahaha!
  • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06 @ e m ail.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:44PM (#6403403)
    whose acronym is VOW. Or is that just me?
  • classic RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:44PM (#6403406)
    From the article:
    "...the RIAA negotiated with a group called Voice of Webcasters, which represented fewer than 15 Internet radio stations..."

    This is classic RIAA. IT's funny becuase they wouldn't have so much trouble selling people on the idea of good behavior regarding the copying of music if they themselves were more honest brokers.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:45PM (#6403411) Homepage
    Sherman Anti-Trust Act nothing, I bet it wouldn't be that hard to come up with a RICO complaint against them. They sure sound like they're about to cross the edge to me. Do what we tell you (don't download stuff) or we'll make you regret it (erase your hard drive) sure sounds like racateering to me. Do they do anything to try to stop indie lables? If you can't make a RICO complaint against them now, at the rate they're going, I can't help but wonder how long it will be before they do qualify.
    • by Target Drone (546651) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:31PM (#6403725)
      Do what we tell you (don't download stuff) or we'll make you regret it (erase your hard drive) sure sounds like racateering to me

      It's only racketeering if you threaten to do something illegal. At the moment erasing a persons hard drive is illegal and so the RIAA could be charged under the RICO act if they were to make this threat. However they are lobbying to make it legal for them to erase peoples hard drives so that they will not be gangsters (in the eyes of the law anyways).

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:46PM (#6403417)
    It goes on to say that the RIAA also wanted to eliminate smaller webcasters, who tend to play more independent material, in order to maintain their monopoly on music distribution.

    What prevents smaller webcasters from hooking up with those indie labels? A record label can set any license they want. If SuperBanana Records(and the artist) wants to let webcasters play 'It Aint Easy Being Yellow' by the Bananaettes, so be it, right?

    • The more appropriate question is more likely "What prevents artists from hooking up with those indie labels?"
    • The laws in place don't allow record labels to pick a price. There is a fixed price, which is far higher than small webcasters can afford. It doesn't matter if indie labels, or anyone else, feel like lowering the bar.

      This law wasn't to benefit copyright holders, it was to benefit advertisers by bringing about market consolidation (forcing small webcasters out of business).
    • What prevents smaller webcasters from hooking up with those indie labels? A record label can set any license they want. If SuperBanana Records(and the artist) wants to let webcasters play 'It Aint Easy Being Yellow' by the Bananaettes, so be it, right?

      Lots of potential lawsuits here.

      -Harry Belafonte suing for the use of the word "banana". Chiquita might get in on the action too.

      Jim Henson productions, the song title is an obvious knockoff of "It's not Easy Being Green"

  • Who Are They? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:46PM (#6403419)
    From their FAQ: "Webcaster Alliance was formed to encourage fair treatment and growth for webcasters of all sizes, from the smallest hobbyists to large terrestrial radio stations. Webcaster Alliance works to address the technological, legislative and content development and distribution issues that face webcasters, the streaming media community and streaming media listeners."
  • Music? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stripe (680068)
    If one can sue over copyright infringment based of a reppetitive set of tones, what is to stop someone from generating millions of tonal combintations with a computer copyrighting the lot of them and suing every "artist" that ends up duplicating them?
    • Re:Music? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If one can sue over copyright infringment based of a reppetitive set of tones, what is to stop someone from generating millions of tonal combintations with a computer copyrighting the lot of them and suing every "artist" that ends up duplicating them?

      In the end a lone voice will be heard... "Needs more cowbell."

    • Re:Music? (Score:5, Funny)

      by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:07PM (#6403575) Homepage
      If one can sue over copyright infringment based of a reppetitive set of tones, what is to stop someone from generating millions of tonal combintations with a computer copyrighting the lot of them and suing every "artist" that ends up duplicating them?

      Oh, sure. Next you'll be telling me that someone can just copyright all possible Phone Numbers? [magnus-opus.com]

      --
    • Re:Music? (Score:3, Funny)

      by TomSawyer (100674)
      If one can sue over copyright infringment based of a reppetitive set of tones, what is to stop someone from generating millions of tonal combintations with a computer copyrighting the lot of them and suing every "artist"

      uhm, you might just want to consider listening to a different music genre and reconsider that thought. I think having to put artist is parenthesis should have tipped you off.

    • Re:Music? (Score:3, Funny)

      by FsG (648587)
      Why limit yourself to just music? If a CD-ROM holds 700MB (4,900,000,000 bits), then there are 2^4900000000 potential CDs. Patent them all, and sue any and everyone who releases a CD-ROM.
      ...
      By the way, one of those disks will have Taco's editor password on it. :)
      • Actually, unless his password is 700 MB long, then quite a few would have his password, along with every password on /. and every comment that can possibly be posted, as well as every possible moderation variation on those comments. The ASCII goatse troll would get a +5 Insightful! The world as we know it would collapse (most likely, under the weight of the CDs required to hold all of the combinations).

        There would also be one with a really REALLY huge number of digits of pi.
      • Re:Music? (Score:3, Funny)

        by ATMAvatar (648864)
        Just patent the case where all bits are 0, and sue blank CD manufacturers - you'd only need one patent, and you'd get a fair share of the total money you would get in patenting all possibilities.
    • Re:Music? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jerf (17166)
      If one can sue over copyright infringment based of a reppetitive set of tones, what is to stop someone from generating millions of tonal combintations with a computer copyrighting the lot of them and suing every "artist" that ends up duplicating them?

      First, and most importantly, because no judge in the land would buy this argument. No conceivable perversion of copyright law's reasons for existing could justify this. (It can't even be said to meet the creativity criterion, IMHO, and yes, I do know how low
    • Over the 95 years of copyright, the music publishers have already done that, employing thousands of songwriters to write the estimated 9 million songs in the collective catalogs of BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. In my journal, I've predicted how this could cause a chilling effect on songwriting [slashdot.org].

  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:47PM (#6403426) Homepage Journal
    Okay, I've been thinking about this for the last few weeks.

    Do all radio stations have to pay royalties, or only commercial radio stations? I think it's the latter, since our college runs its own non-commercial radio station and they don't have to pay any royalties that I know of.

    A majority of the online radio stations are non-commercial, as in, they don't run radio stations for money. Most are run by shoutcast and other hobbyists anyway. So, why should these radio stations have to pay royalties, if their real-world (pardon the expression) counterparts do nt have to?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:52PM (#6403477)
      They pay royalties to organizations that give money directly to the artists, thus bypassing the record companies! Really!

      BUT, Congress and the FCC decided that webcasting counts as mechanical reproduction, not just broadcasting, so you've gotta pay royalties to the record companies as if you were selling copies of their CDs. (Or offering them for download.)

      This is called *CORUPTION IN THE GOVERNMENT*, boys and girls!
    • In a word, "Yes" since any broadcast radio station (eg: not intended for the amature "Ham" audience - who aren't allowed to play music) is considered commercial and thus falls under the appropriate government regulations. In the case of college stations playing Indie bands, the broadcast rights are often secured directly from the artists rather than going through an intermediary.

      Webcasting falls into a strange gray area that I'm yet to entirely figure out. Something I probably should figure out, since I
      • RTFM.

        I got a 5 watt FM transmitter a few years ago, scavenged mic, repaired a mixer, built an antenna. I ran a coax from the basement to the garage, and put the antenna up on the roof. I had a couple hundred MP3s that I'd downloaded on a 56kbps before the days of napster.

        After a few hours I decided this was no longer any fun because nobody was listening. I tried to sell the whole rig on Ebay. It got delisted and I was told it was contraband.

        Come to find out, after I RTFM, the whole thing was very ille
    • by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:08PM (#6403581) Journal
      There are specific laws for webcasting that are different from those regarding radio broadcasts.

      Why should there be different laws? Otherwise, it would be too cheap to run a webcast! There would be so many different webcasters that advertisers would never know which market was listening to which stations, and labels would have no way to ensure that their product was adequately represented. Mass hysteria! Dogs and cats living together!

      I'm not exaggerating. That's actually the reason. Congress just wanted to bring about "market consolidation."

      ClearChannel only webcasting.
    • Radio stations don't pay royalties at all. Broadcast of music is seen as working to advertise it, thus the musicians and distributors are compensated for the use of their work by the free advertising it receives through that use.

      The Internet, for totally arbitrary reasons, isn't treated that way. However, in the RIAA scheme, a radio station that simulcasts over the Net will pay less than an outfit that only uses the Net, and not the airwaves at all. So existing radio stations receive an effective subsidy f
      • Blockquoth the poster:

        Radio stations don't pay royalties at all.

        This, I am pretty sure, is not true. What about ASCAP etc.? I think there might be a compulsory-license thing going on, but I know that radio stations can't go down to Wal-Mart, buy some CDs, and just start playing them.


        The crime is, Congress mandated that webcasters be treated in a ridiculously more harsh manner than regular broadcasters, all in the name of "market consolidation".

    • Radio stations pay royalties only to the artist organizations, but web streamers have been ordered by law to pay both the same fee tot he artist, and a seperate fee to the labels. The resulting fee effectively doubles the cost of playing a song because it's about the same number.

      But these netstreamers are claiming that the RIAA cheated in the process to determining number. The RIAA presented to CARP, the division of the Library of Congress named in the law as the authority who sets the statutory rate and
    • Do all radio stations have to pay royalties, or only commercial radio stations? I think it's the latter, since our college runs its own non-commercial radio station and they don't have to pay any royalties that I know of.

      Most CDs out there have fine print on them indicating a copyright and prohibiting any public performance or broadcast without a license. Just because you are a radio station doesn't give you the right to broadcast them, regardless of whether or not you are commercial. Think about it -- wh
  • The grand plan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:47PM (#6403429) Homepage
    The grand plan in the current music industry is to condition people over many generations to a specific..managible genre of music. AKA SPAM-IN-CAN CorpRock Musak. It makes perfect marketing sense. If you can manage and control what users listen to, then you can better predict your profit margins. Ever notice how all the "Alternative" music sounds the same of the past 15 years? Utter crap. And to add more salt to the wound, there is even talk in the industry to scientifically figure out what waveforms people like...err I mean music for even better corp-rock crap
    • Re:The grand plan (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DeltaSigma (583342) <onu@public.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:33PM (#6403738) Journal
      Underground subcultures are very much aware of this situation. It's generally regarded as a hostile act meant to destroy our culture.

      Allow me to explain. Sometimes a government body's political boundries encompass two very different cultures. In a case where a smaller culture is regarded as a potential threat, problem, or nuisance the government may attempt to breed them out of existance. Sort of a peaceful genocide, it's quite simple. Noone gets killed, noone's locked up, or harmed in any way. However the government creates incentives for businesses to set up in this particular area of the country. Thus the mainstream population moves to this area in pursuit of jobs. Over the years the two cultures interbreed until the differences that once seperated the two cultures are spread so thin that, for all intensive purposes, that culture no longer exists. This is a very real problem that anthropologists are constantly attempting to combat.

      The recording industry, or at least the RIAA, is attempting to do the same thing. They're taking mainstream music, tweaked to sound more punk, metal, gothic, hip-hop or what have you. In the mainstreams pursuit to be an "inDUHvidual" they cling to this facade and claim to be what we are. Over time start-up bands attempt to imitate these fake bands, the media begins to depict this coincidentally (hah) more media-friendly subculture as the true subculture, and over time what we really are and what we're really about is lost in the stream of time.

      For the most part, we've lost punk to this crap already. Oh don't get me wrong I'm sure there's still a few bands and a few isolated groups which fit the original ( and political ) description of punk. However most of the punks I knew became disheartened. Their clothes, music, literature, EVERYTHING, became very difficult to find amidst this mainstream regurgitation.

      Metal's suffering from the same onslaught as we speak. Nu-Metal threatens to destroy another subculture very near and dear to me in time.

      My subculture sees the beginnings of the same thing for us. On the gothic front, the media appears to have chosen a multi-faceted attack with television and the popularization (helped along with a little advertising) of dark television series. Buffy was a very good example. Fashion's a little less hard to pick apart amidst the season's change of fashion obsessions so I won't speak of any direct threat there. Honestly I doubt I could pick those things out if I tried. And, though it seems to have taken them a while, I've heard the RIAA finally has a band calling themselves "gothic" that they're parading around MTV.

      Some might be happy to be rid of us. Indeed there's a great many selfish people who can't see beyond their own form of living. To these people I would express my regret that they could not understand what we are. We're nothing more than a culture which holds valuable its traditions and similarities. By departing from mainstream into the gothic subculture I've learned a lot about society. And despite what mainstream sources will tell you, goths, punks, metal-heads, rivet-heads, etc., are NOT anti-cultures. That is to say, we're don't join the groups we do because we oppose mainstream in its entirety. Rather, we join these groups as they better fit our lifestyle. It was easier for me to make friends amongst goths than it was at random.

      In any event, here's how it relates to you, the reader, if you're not part of a subculture. I mean, if you're totally mainstream this isn't going to hurt you. Are you christian though? Do you like christian music? Yeah, that won't survive if the RIAA gets its way. Actually anything that mainstream, pop/rock advertising doesn't cover will eventually be destroyed if things continue as they have been.

      If you've ever liked something besides pop/rock, I reccomend you invest a bit more in ANY alternative source of music. Be it web distribution, independant labels, classic radio stations, whatever. Support everything that isn't mainstream.
    • The grand plan in ANY industry is exactly what you suggest, and none of this is a shock to anyone who understands business.

      What is worrisome about the RIAA is a) the tactics they employ to restrict what music gets to the majority of ears and b) the fact that they and the MPAA together (which employs much the same tactics) run very little risk of being tagged for anti-competitive business practices (and thus forced to open up to competition) due to their massive infusions of cash into the political machiner
  • by Tha_Big_Guy23 (603419) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:48PM (#6403442)
    While their intentions are noble,(Read: It's about time someone went after the RIAA)I don't think that they'll have the money available to pull off an anti-trust lawsuit against the RIAA. The RIAA could probably throw enough money into the lawsuit to keep it in courts for ages. These independant webcasters are going to need some help if they have any chance of pulling this off. I may sound negative, but it's the truth.
  • Although many people here at slashdot don't agree with the RIAA and their anti digital stance I think that we have to have some sympathy with them here. Unlike traditional radio it is easy to make copys of songs that have been webcasted and then place them on peer to peer networks such as bittorrent and napster. What inevitably happens is that people will record internet radio stations all day and then put all the CD quality songs up for download, thereby harming the music industry.

    What might be a better
    • What inevitably happens is that people will record internet radio stations all day and then put all the CD quality songs up for download, thereby harming the music industry.

      (sarcasm)Yea, all the streaming audio I hear is CD quality.(/sarcasm)

      For the vast majority of Internet users, listening to streaming audio is only a substitution when it isn't possible to hear it on a real radio.

      Of course, there is another way to hurt them. STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP! Get involved with the local music scene, or anythi

    • by Xcott Craver (615642) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:21PM (#6403669)
      There's a lot to dispute here.

      | Unlike traditional radio it is easy to make copys [sic] of songs that have been webcasted

      As others have pointed out, this is not at all unlike traditional radio. Capturing from an FM radio station probably gives you better quality.

      | and then place them on peer to peer networks such as bittorrent and napster

      Neither of these are presently peer-to-peer networks.

      | What inevitably happens is that people will record internet radio stations all day

      History tells us that this is not what inevitably happens. Nor do people spend all day scanning in library books and thus putting book publishers out of business.

      | and then put all the CD quality songs up for download

      ...definitely not CD-quality songs...

      | thereby harming the music industry.

      Possibly, but I'd like to see more evidence that the distribution of crappy MP3s really cuts into record company sales.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:49PM (#6403447)
    However John Simson of the RIAA's collection arm, SoundExchange, argues that broadcasters should pay for their hobby.


    "The average hunter spends around $1,800 per year on their hobby. How much do photographers spend?" he told us. "It's all well and good to run a hobby, but Kodak doesn't give out free film. It's only right to pay a reasonable fee," he said.


    Hobbyists should pay for their hobbies; unless that hobby contributes something to society. A hunter hunts for himself, usually. A photographer takes pictures for his own enjoyment, usually. I am a Paid on Call Firefighter. That's my hobby. And I get 9 dollars an hour when I'm on call and 7 bucks per hour for training. The independent broadcasters contribute to society, too.

    The RIAA should be subsidizing them.
    • > "The average hunter spends around $1,800 per year on their hobby. How much do photographers spend?" he told us. "It's all well and good to run a hobby, but Kodak doesn't give out free film. It's only right to pay a reasonable fee," he said.

      Ok, I'll bite, lets say that this statement holds true, what means that I have to pay the RIAA if I dont have any content that they have copyright over? Lets say I handle stuff off of Dischord Records, or Subpop, or some other smaller non-RIAA label? I wouldnt mind
  • Lawsuits (Score:5, Funny)

    by $exyNerdie (683214) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:52PM (#6403467) Homepage Journal

    Not to sound like trolling but looking at the number of lawsuits being filed these days, legal profession seems very appealing compared to IT and so far it hasn't been affected by outsourcing either !!
    • That's it! I just had a genius solution on how to solve the economy problem!

      Here's the plan: we do away with money and just SUE people for the things we need! I need some computer parts, so I'll sue Newegg for some stupid thing, they'll fold, and I'll get parts in a settlement! Next I'll take on the grocery store for some more beer!
    • Re:Lawsuits (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
      " legal profession seems very appealing compared to IT and so far it hasn't been affected by outsourcing either !!"

      Law likely won't be outsourced. Last I checked you needed to be in the courtroom to argue a case. But you're right, America is being reduced to a country which consists solely of service professions, law, medicine, marketing, entertainment, and food. Welcome to America.

  • This is good news! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RCAMVideogames (653705) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:57PM (#6403513)
    I make a living off of copyrighted material. These webcasters are forced to ethier stop or go underground becuase of the RIAA. This monopoly has no positive impact on the people outside of the record industry. There motive must be to keep the real radio and new services like XM alive. Therefore internet radio must be stopped. Thanks to ole Sherman, we don't have to take their trash.
  • by stang7423 (601640) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @05:59PM (#6403525)
    The RIAA has gotten out of control. This suit looks like ond of the best counter attacks that has been launched against the RIAA. Now I want to give some of my hard earned money that would have otherwise (according to the RIAA) gone for recorded music to help support the legal fees of their oppostion.
  • by scottymonkeypants (627445) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:01PM (#6403535)
    I think that this is a step in the right direction. More groups should be challenging the stranglehold that the RIAA currently has on the music industry, and this is a good beginning.

    This isn't just about getting free music, either, nor is it about not having to hear "crappy pop music" on the radio or whatever. It's about the RIAA and the major labels screwing over their artists and everyone else on the planet in the name of making a buck. Their business model simply isn't effective anymore.

    I think we need to see more moves like this, and then things will finally start to change.
  • greed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by geekmetal (682313)
    Webcasters of all sizes have wrangled with the recording industry since 1998, when Congress passed a law requiring Internet radio stations to pay royalties to artists and record labels.

    The RIAA by far looks to be the greediest of all in corporate america. There sure should be more musicians like Tom Petty out there who need a little support in tuning down the greed.
    As long as the small stations can survive we will have music

  • by Hamster Lover (558288) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:14PM (#6403624) Journal
    In a related article it was stated that DTV pays royalties of 6.5% of revenue for their digital broadcasts. I inferred from the article that traditional radio stations pay much less percentage wise. Canadian radio stations pay 1.4% of total revenue, if I am not mistaken.

    Now, if we assume that the minimum royalty rate for a small web broadcaster of $2000 represents 6.5% of revenue then the RIAA assumes that a small webcaster produces about $31,00 of revenue per year, or about $2600 a month. The question is, does that seem like a reasonable assumption? I don't think any small webcaster makes anything close to that, if anything at all after salaries, equipment costs, etc. This leaves established radio stations or corporations with money as the only players in the game, small webcasters are completely out of it financially. I wonder what percentage of revenue the RIAA thinks $2000 dollars represents for a small webcaster.
  • by poptones (653660) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:14PM (#6403626) Journal
    I'm sick to death of hearing about webcasters pissing and moaning about the RIAA. If these fuckers really cared about embracing indie music there's nothing at all stopping them from picking up artists who have not entered the belly of the beast. There's a real opportunity here to exact a fundamental change not only in distribution, but in the way popular new music becomes popular - but just like MP3.COM, these players really don't believe the hype they're seliing. They don't even believe in their own product, which is the reason they incessantly lobby for "rights" to the other guy's prpoduct.

    What they want is the "freedom" to give even more hype to the same old shit the RIAA is already peddling; To help further enlave us all to the old Hollywood lobby.

    There is a world of music out there, much of it completely unrepresented in the US [online.fr] - artists that would LOVE exposure from these "independant broadcasters." Yet these alleged "independants" don't care for that - no, they want "the right" to help spread the boy band gospel.

    Fuck the RIAA... and fuck these online broadcasters. Maybe they'll sue each other into oblivion and we can be rid of all of it.

    • by edrugtrader (442064) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:43PM (#6403793) Homepage
      they are not lobbying for the rights to play the RIAA's product... they are demanding that they not pay the "RIAA webcaster surcharge fee" if they don't play RIAA music. they are doing exactlly what you are bitching about them to do. the RIAA basically got the government to believe that if you are playing music over the airwaves, it must be the RIAA's music and thus they deserve a cut of the fees. with airwaves that is easy, the FCC charges you to broadcast and gives some to the RIAA. with the internet there is no FCC getting paid so the RIAA wants the same money from the web caster even if they aren't playing RIAA music.

      The college stations don't have to pay because colleges are a state protected institution.
      • Wrongo, Mary-Lou... (Score:4, Informative)

        by poptones (653660) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @08:27PM (#6404355) Journal
        they are not lobbying for the rights to play the RIAA's product... they are demanding that they not pay the "RIAA webcaster surcharge fee" if they don't play RIAA music.

        Wrong. the RIAA has no control over unlicensed music. The RIAA can no more prevent me from sharing my own music than it can prevent you from sharing my music that I shared with you.

        These "indies" are fighting explicitly for the right to broadcast commercial music already owned by RIAA affiliate members. Apparently you didn't RTFA, so I will quote for you the relevant part right here...

        However, to be commercially viable, the Alliance believes that small webcasters need a mix of Mainstream Material and Independent Material. The Alliance is concerned that recent developments in the market for Mainstream Material have seriously jeopardized the commercial viability of its members by eliminating the ability to stream a commercially significant amount of Mainstream Material.

        Ergo, I said...

  • How can the RIAA shut down webcasters who stream music the RIAA has no copyright over? Do they have the patent on music, or something? Or are they trying to get rights to webcast RIAA-corporation-owned music without paying the royalties? If the latter, I don't see how they can possibly expect to get that right, any more than I could sue Microsoft to let me host Windows XP ISOs on my website.

    I hate to say it, but I gotta go with the RIAA on this one. If they want unencumbered rights to distribute music, th

  • The Endgame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by felonious (636719) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:39PM (#6403768) Journal
    When will everyone wake up and realize that when they buy cd's, tapes, etc. that they are indirectly supporting the RIAA? Yes we all love music but we risk our musical freedom buying the products the RIAA sells. I have almost 1000 store bought cd's but I can no longer buy them from such a monopolistic, evil diety as the RIAA.

    They want to dictate who, what, when, where, why and how I buy and listen to my music. It's my fucking choice and they have forced me to boycott all they sell. I can get anything I want free so I'll go back to that method.

    Sueing your customers into a lifelong debt is unjustified and narrowminded bullshit in it's basis. By setting examples in ruining the avergae person's financial life is completely uncalled for and I will not have any part in supporting these fucks in buying their products.

    If anyone has any self-respect or ethics then they'll also refuse to support this ridiculous entity called the RIAA. We stop buying they start to get the message.

    Fuck the RIAA...you can't shit where you eat...unless you're Hilary Rosen:)
    • Re:The Endgame (Score:3, Insightful)

      by angle_slam (623817)
      We stop buying they start to get the message.

      Not that simple. Sales are down and RIAA members are using it as proof of P2P's effect on sales.

      • Well, not that it'll happen, but the point is that if people quit giving the RIAA members money by buying CDs, there won't be an RIAA left to blame P2P.

        My wife used to buy new CDs every now and then -- mostly music from 20+ years ago, as she increasingly felt that the new stuff being released was vapid garbage. When I told her about the RIAA stories I've read on /. she was appalled and had no idea what a shitty pack of bastards was responsible for the shitty music being turned out these days.

        When I told h
  • Fat chance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CausticWindow (632215) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @06:53PM (#6403853)

    I'm studying business law, and stuff like this is what I know best. These guys have as much chance as a snowball in hell.

    I wish it were otherwise, but the odds are against them.

  • This is going to be the rubber ducky that took on the shark. While I am rooting for the rubber ducky in this case, I know the shark is going to eat it.

    The only thing I can hope for is that the Rubber ducky gets stuck in the Shark's colon and gives it cancer.
  • by felonious (636719) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @07:31PM (#6404062) Journal
    Let me preface this by saying it's not goatse. This is funny as hell though. RIAA Personified [dar.net] Maybe it will feel the wrath of being slashdotted?
  • by geekee (591277) on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @08:19PM (#6404322)
    You'd think in a free society that the owner of a copyrighted work could choose the price to allow it to be broadcast. Not so in the USA, however. Antitrust is an affront to basic freedoms. You do not have a right to someone elses work at a price of your choosing.
  • by six11 (579) <johnsogg@c m u . edu> on Wednesday July 09, 2003 @11:15PM (#6405084) Homepage
    jamie zawinski has a great article on webcasting legality [dnalounge.com] on the webpage for his nightclub.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

Working...