The Copyright and Royalty Board, part of the Library of Congress, has announced copyright license fee increases that, if not struck down, will put many of the more innovative Internet music streaming (read radio) sites out of business. According to Bill Goldsmith at radioparadise.com, the royalty payments will amount to 125% of their revenue. I donít think this is hyperbole based on what I read on the Radio and Internet Newsletter site.

Who benefits? All the usual fat cats. Who gets screwed? Well that would be all the smaller indy bands and labels, those of us who appreciate their work, and, of course those of us who are sick to their stomachs of the crap that passes for commercial radio broadcasting these days.

All of this is at the instigation of the RIAA of course Ė the same folks who, flummoxing around because their business model was caught totally unawares by the advent of digital music (boy, who could have seen that one coming 20 odd years ago at the introduction of CDs and then again, in the last decade, when Al Gore invented the Internet), have resorted to litigation against grandmothers because little Jimmy discovered file sharing. As a trade association I think they are doing a piss poor job. I had a conversation a while back with the third generation proprietor of a small local roller skating rink. What a resource to have. You can drop off the kiddies for good clean fun, knowing that Bonnie is watching out for them Ė a gem of a local institution. Bonnie told me that she didnít know how much longer it would make economic sense to stay open Ė one of her single largest expenses is paying RIAA royalties.

Meanwhile, I legally downloaded some songs for my daughter, and found out that it is nearly impossible to transfer them to any other device. For this we can thank the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, otherwise know as The Act Passed By Congess, Signed Into Law By The President, But Written By The RIAA.

Hey, Iím for law and order, but I am rooting for the guys figuring out how to beat these greedy bastards. Maybe once the RIAA and their lackeys on the U.S. Congress figure out that the only alternative to an equitable fair royalty structure and a reasonable fair use doctrine is widespread free illegal underground distribution, they will get their heads out of their asses.

I encourage our Loyal Readers to bitch to their government representatives and to engage in civil disobedience in this matter (just donít get caught and if you do, donít call me).

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