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The Courts Government News

Small Webcasters get Powerful New Ally 362

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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  • by Solid StaTe_1 ( 446406 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:40PM (#4497141)
    Insane Sniper assissins

    Canada -- 0
    USA -- 1

    Huh. Looks like USA wins this one.
    Good for you!
  • 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...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:46PM (#4497216)
    Politics makes strange bedfellows.
  • 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.
  • It's a Shakedown (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LunaticLeo ( 3949 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:51PM (#4497271) Homepage
    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 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.
  • 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.

  • RTFA. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:55PM (#4497339)
    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.
  • by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @01:58PM (#4497369)
    'The Triangle' refers to the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, in the central part of NC. It's sort of bordering on megalolis these days (It's kinda gone from a triangle to a blob..)
  • by JCCyC ( 179760 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:00PM (#4497383) Journal
    The Religious Right, incredible as it may seem, can be the killer ally of the digital freedom movement, just like Stalin was in WWII. Remember that morality vs. copyright case? (the right to edit movies to the customer's content)

    When talking to any individual with such orientation [], we have to stress that the current copyright fundamentalism is made to favor Hollywood - you know, that big, unholy, pornography-peddling anti-God collective in California. Mentioning Scientology [] might help too. YMMV.

    Now THAT is an 800-lb. gorilla.
  • 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 therealmoose ( 558253 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:02PM (#4497410)
    damp cloth, to use the Streisand-style Shakespearian. The point is that some of Senator Helms' constituents had an issue with a bill and so Senator Helms held it up. That's the way it's supposed to work. This does not reflect upon any large political quadron.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:05PM (#4497447)
    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?
  • 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....
  • by jaredcoleman ( 616268 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:07PM (#4497467)
    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.
  • by GreyPoopon ( 411036 ) <gpoopon@ g m a> 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> 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.

  • by Carlos Laviola ( 127699 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:47PM (#4497878) Homepage Journal
    Dear sir,

    It's hard to understand how I would include music that I still don't know in my playlists. Please ellaborate on that.

    Yours truly,
  • by Mr Guy ( 547690 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:50PM (#4497904) Journal
    Talk to us again once they get to censoring everything Hollywood puts out for sexual content and violence.

    That'd be the point. See, the same people that are preventing you from watching DVDs on linux because you might steal them are preventing THEM from buying copies of "The Green Mile" with all the 'damns' changed to 'darns'.
  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:53PM (#4497924) Homepage Journal

    So. . . confused. . . cannot pick. . . side. . .

    Welcome to the Real World, where nothing is black or white, no one is evil or good and nothing is _ever_ as simple as it seems.

    Glad to have you.

  • by Fig, formerly A.C. ( 543042 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @02:56PM (#4497950)
    Nice bigotry, dude. But I'll bet you consider yourself a "compassionate liberal". Typical liberal. Believes yourself to be oh-so-open minded and tolerant. Which is true: about things YOU like. About things you don't agree with, you turn into the worst hate-filled bigot. But YOUR bigotry is justified, right? Because the people YOU hate are "wrong", right?

    I think the difference is that Quarex has never tried to forbid the "churchies" from listening to their music, but the churchies have a history of wanting to censor things that they find objectionable.

    Ironically, the last parts of your post did describe the attitude of organized religion, though.

  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:18PM (#4498144) Journal
    if we didn't have copyright laws at all?
  • by Alexander ( 8916 ) on Monday October 21, 2002 @03:23PM (#4498192) Homepage
    "Ironically, the last parts of your post did describe the attitude of organized religion, though."

    What? Explain how this is the attitude of Unitarianism, Orthodox Presbyterianism, or Tibetan Bhuddism.

    Or just think before you rant, child.

  • by xingix ( 601512 ) <> on Monday October 21, 2002 @04:37PM (#4498834)

    the churchies have a history of wanting to censor things that they find objectionable.

    Wait a sec... I'm a churchie and my church doesn't censor anything. Please don't put all Christians into a stereotypical and narrowminded little box with a label.

  • I'm also against state sponsored gay marriage--if they want to get married in their faith fine, but I don't think the state can or should legislate morality, I'll leave that to the churches.

    To be logically consistent you would then be against state-sponsored straight marriage, too. By giving special priviledges or burdens to a straight couple who want to get married in their faith - isn't that also legislating morality?

    Why not be consistent? Either allow gay couples the same rights that het couples get, or don't give couples special rights over people who freely choose to remain unmarried.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.