Webcasters to protest rates with sound of silence

Internet radio listeners will get a taste of what Web radio may sound like in the future Wednesday when hundreds of Web broadcasters go silent in protest of Webcaster royalty rates recently proposed by a U.S. government panel.

The May Day protest is in response to a February decision by the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) that seeks to set retroactive rates at .07 of a U.S. cent for radio broadcasts and .14 of a U.S. cent for all other copyright audio broadcasts, spanning back to 1998.

"If these (royalty rates) go through, it will cut the legs off of the little guy," said Mary McCann, vice president of radio at iM Networks Inc., the maker of a popular Internet radio tuner.

The rates proposed by the CARP were much higher than the Web broadcasters were prepared to pay, yet lower than the rates suggested by the Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA), which is pitted against the Webcasters in the Net royalty melee. The royalty rates are being set under the terms of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which was widely lobbied for by the music industry to protect their intellectual property online.

The CARP has until May 21 to accept, reject or modify the proposed rates. Web broadcasters hope that by drawing attention to the issue tomorrow, they can garner enough public support to tune the rates down.

While Web broadcasters such as AllDanzRadio, ChroniX Radio and CyberRadio2000 are scheduled to spin the sound of silence from dawn to late afternoon Wednesday, a handful of others have prepared special programming interspersed with moments of silence.

McCann said that she has prepared a number of public service announcements for iM Networks' affiliated streamed stations that educate listeners about the CARP rates and encourage them to contact their congressional representatives.

Additionally, Wolf FM, an online radio station based in Nashville, Tennessee, is planning an all-day talk show on the issue which will be broadcast by a number of Internet radio stations.

"These rates are really a concern for the entry-level Webcasters," said Susan Pickering, executive director of the International Webcasting Association (IWA), who will be speaking on Wolf FM tomorrow. "They could cost (the Webcasters) 100 percent or more of their daily revenue."

David Landis, founder of the Ultimate-80s Net station, said that if the CARP rates go through he expects 99 percent of the 10,000 estimated Webcasters to disappear.

"We'd have to go off the air," Landis said. "The only Webcasters that could survive would be the most deep-pocketed companies that have other sources of revenue and can afford to take a loss."

But while the Webcasters fight to stay online, the record companies say that they are also fighting to give the artists and record companies the dues they deserve from Internet play.

"A day of silence is a perfectly appropriate message, because the public should know what the world would be like without the music that everybody takes for granted. If the people who make the music don't get paid to do so, that's what we'll have -- silence," John Simson, executive director of the SoundExchange digital royalty collection agency said in a statement.

Even after tomorrow's silence, high-volume debate over the issue is slated to continue when Webcasters and the record companies face off at a May 10 U.S. Copyright Office Roundtable discussion on the topic.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scarlet Pruitt

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?