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Congress Passes SWSA

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the blood-from-turnips dept.

Music 183

signer writes "Congress has passed the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (House of Representatives link). Webcasters have until December 15th to negotiate Percentage-of-Revenue royalty payments, and they have the option of changing their status to non-profit and gaining a delay until June 30, 2003 to pay owed royalties from previous years. RAIN (www.kurthanson.com) has details."

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FRIST TOPS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679588)

FRIST TOPS

Re:FRIST TOPS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4680013)

o whatever. But let me say. Why dont we, Slashdotters form an American, or international, political party? I know we have some good minds here, and we can just slashdot our enemies websites. we can do it.

Frost Pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679589)

D to the Motherfuckin' C!

First Post Bitches (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679591)

Yeahs Yeah Yeah
Glory Halleleja
Ya I spelt that wrong.
So what
It's friday

Canada Roxors

The Real Question is? (5, Insightful)

1stflight (48795) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679592)

IS this settlement good or bad for the webcasters? Personally I'm of the mind that radio by defination is free promotion, the webcasters should be charging for it.

Annual minimum royalty (2, Interesting)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679629)

IS this settlement good or bad for the webcasters?

There is an annual minimum royalty of $500, which means that the smallest of small webcasters may not be able to afford it.

Re:Annual minimum royalty (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679659)

That may well be true, but it's a lot less expensive that what they would have been required to pay. Someone who wants to webcast should be able to afford that $500. That's only about $42 a month. I bet most of them spend that much on games.

Re:Annual minimum royalty (5, Informative)

Liquor (189040) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679849)

There is an annual minimum royalty of $500, which means that the smallest of small webcasters may not be able to afford it.
Umm... I think it's even worse than that.

I'm no expert at translating from legalese, but it sure seems that $500 is for past revenues, in 1998 - and there's a $2000 per year minimum after that, i.e. $6K for 1999, 2000, and 2001, and then another $2K minimum for 2002. And that's just to settle PAST broadcasts. So there's a minimum outlay of about $8500 for ANY webcaster that's been around for those years.

Even if a webcaster is non-profit, with no income, they want 5% of expenses - still subject to the minimums.

Oh, and you're a small webcaster until you make more than a $1.25 Million?

Re:Annual minimum royalty (3, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679865)

There is an annual minimum royalty of $500, which means that the smallest of small webcasters may not be able to afford it.

Put up paypal, 50 bux a month and your covered. Of course better switch to peercast so your bandwidth doesnt run up your expenses (which they can charge 7% if expenses are larger)

BTW, people over at Nectarine [scenemusic.net] have been able to get enough donations to pay for bandwidth. They are even testing OGG streaming (less bandwidth than mp3s)

Re:The Real Question is? (2, Interesting)

Xenius (626318) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679650)

I'd have to agree with you here. How many of us mainly hear new music from somewhere other than the radio? I'd say, that I have purchased rough 70% of all the cd's I own after hearing the artist/song on the radio. I don't really see how internet radio works differently. If I were a music label I would want my music being put on the radio. Along the comment from the first poster about webcasters charging to music on the radio, that's not a bad idea. Not sure the music labels would go for it as they are making the big stink over internet radio. However, if interenet broadcasters charge companies for *gasp* commercials they may be able to afford the fees incurred by the new law.

Re:The Real Question is? (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679694)

No, not all that great.

For one thing, the RIAA's slice of the pie still comes from *gross* revenue, meaning that stations operating with only a tiny profit margin will get very very screwed.

Another poster already mentioned the $500 minimum, but that I see as less of a problem, only affecting the smallest of webcasters. The percentage of the gross take, on the other hand, doesn't go away regardless of scale.

I have to admit I don't quite get the part about non-profit webcasting (the text of the bill HEAVILY references its predecessor, making it read almost exactly like a diff file). It sounds like they just have more time to decide to fold, but don't actually get significantly better terms. But don't quote me on that one.

Re:The Real Question is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679721)

OK, I'm sorta out of touch for this stuff.

Are these fees required for all webcasters, no matter what music they play? Even if I only stream stuff with my own copyright on it?

Or, is this some sort of 'blanket' royalty that lets me play anything I want on my server, so long as I pay the fee? In that case, who am I paying the fee to and how do I know that my money is going to the artist who's music I am playing?

Someone please enlighten me :-)

Re:The Real Question is? (5, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679762)

"free promotion."

That's up for negotiations to decide, isn't it? One side POTENTIALLY benefits from "free promotion", the other from having some filler between advertisements (or some other benefit).

Making things interesting is that in the marketplace of music, webcasters can always go to alternative music sources if they can't come to what they think is an equitable agreement with their first choice rightsholders--be that agreement the rightsholders get paid, pay, or whatever.

in life, you get what you negotiate.

Re:The Real Question is? (3, Informative)

Camulus (578128) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679798)

SomaFM [somafm.com] has a pretty good over view of what it means to them. The answer is we will see (since the negotiations haven't started yet). I really hope they make it back on the air. I want my SomaFM.

Re:The Real Question is? (2)

Bobzibub (20561) | more than 11 years ago | (#4680032)

I'm missing Soma too.
I feel for you.
Maybe there should be a support group?
-b

Re:The Real Question is? (1)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679837)

What does becoming a "non-profit" have anything to do with it? Will they still need to qualify as aa 501(c) according to the IRS?

Re:The Real Question is? (2)

donutello (88309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679966)

Personally I'm of the mind that radio by defination is free promotion, the webcasters should be charging for it.


That's a great idea! I'm going to take one of the new BMW 7-series cars without the dealers permission, drive it around town everyday promoting it and then send BMW a bill for the favor I'm doing them by promoting their cars.

Re:The Real Question is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4680043)

by defination

I agree with your sentiments, but for goodness sake, learn what "by definition" means.

Finally! (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679595)

Now there's actually someone with a valid claim that peer to peer is ruining their earnings.

after they pay these royalties... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679600)

they'll all be non-profit.

Drastic business plan change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679607)

1. Webcast someone else's music on the web
2. Get into problems
3. Scrap the idea, sell hot bread on the street instead
4. Profit!!!

I hate webcasters (-1)

RestonVA (593792) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679613)

Pay royalties?? HAHAHAH NEVER!!! The net is phree!! Keep it like tha' warez??? hahaha goatse for president

Re:I hate webcasters (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679744)

Heh. Vote Goatse.cx in 2004. Yeah! "Vote for the Goat!!"

Text (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679615)

Here is the text in case RAIN can't shine:

In a stunning victory for webcasting, both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously passed aImage: Bill text revised version of H.R. 5469 late last night that clears the way for copyright owners to offer webcasters a percentage-of-revenues royalty rate, essentially allowing the parties to mutually agree to override the CARP decision of last spring.

The Senate passed the bill at 10:32PM ET and the House passed it at 2:44AM. It now goes to President Bush for his signature.

The bill was actively supported by virtually all players on both sides of the debate this year, including the Photo: Sen. Jesse Helmsrecord industry, artist representatives, large webcasters, small webcasters, college radio representatives, and religious broadcasters.

In what was viewed as a surprise by some observers, the legislative staff in the office of retiring Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) (pictured) apparently played an active and valuable role in crafting what the parties concluded was a much better piece of legislation than the one Helms blocked at the last moment late last month (here).

Rates and terms removed from legislation
The key difference between the bill that the House passed in October and the revised bill, renamed the "Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002," is that Congress did not establish any definition of "small webcaster" or set any royalty rates in the final version of the legislation.

Rather, the bill grants both sides the right to enter into a voluntary agreement "without fear of liability for deviating from the fees andLink: SoundExchange terms of the July 8 order" (i.e., the Librarian of Congress's modified CARP decision).

Specifically, the bill does so by permitting the receiving agent of royalty payments (i.e., SoundExchange) to negotiate on behalf of all copyright owners, whether they are members of SoundExchange or not, for the period beginning October 28, 1998 (i.e., the passage of the DMCA) and ending December 31, 2004.

Under the new mechanism established by this act, the voluntary agreement envisioned would be submitted to the Copyright Office, published in the Federal Register, and subsequently made available to all qualifying webcasters.

However, the bill grants the receiving agent that authority to make a settlement with the small commercial webcasters only until December 15th -- so the clock is ticking for both sides to "paper the deal." (CONTINUED)
RAIN Vendor Guide Ver.3.0 Special issue coming soon: Most indicators seem to be pointing (finally!) toward a more-successful 2003 for both broadcasters and webcasters. To help you in your planning process for next year, RAIN's upcoming "Planning for 2003" issue will showcase products and services that will help you reduce your expenses and increase your revenues in 2003!
Link: ABC Radio Networks
Link to Backbone
Link to: Bean Bag Entertainment Link to BRS Media Inc. Link: Compuone.net Link: DiMA
Link to DotFM Link: Hiwire Link to IM Networks Link: Interep Link to Interep Interactive
Link: International Webcasting Association Link to Measurecast Link to The Media Audit Link to Radio Web Stuff Link to Sabo Media
Link: Stream Madness Link to Surfer Network
For YOUR firm to be included, call RAIN at 1-312-527-3869 or e-mail kurt@kurthanson.com

(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
Royalty payments from noncomms
suspended until next June
The version of the bill passed last night also suspends ALL royalty payments due from noncommercial webcasters until June 30, 2003, giving both sides time to work out a new voluntary royalty structure.

Furthermore, the bill adds a new definition of "noncommercial" that permits webcasters who are currently for-profit entities to file for nonprofit status and take advantage of this option as long as they have a "commercially reasonable expectation that such exemption shall be granted."

This provision seems to permit any "hobbyist" webcaster to make a choice of whether they would like to be a for-profit business or a nonprofit. The bill gives the parties involved until May 31, 2003 to negotiate their voluntary license.

Stronger non-precedential language added
The bill contains new and very strong language intended to prevent the deal negotiated in Sensenbrenner's office from being used as precedent in future CARPs.

One example: "It is the intent of Congress that any royalty rates, rate structure, definitions, terms, conditions, or notice and recordkeeping requirements, included in such agreements shall be considered as a compromise motivated by the unique business, economic and political circumstances of small Photo: Capitol buildingwebcasters, copyright owners, and performers rather than as matters that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and a willing seller."

Another example: "Nothing in the Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002...shall be taken into account by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in its review of the determination by the Librarian of Congress of July 18, 2002, of rates and terms for the digital performance of sound recordings and ephemeral recordings."

Such language apparently satisfied the concerns of terrestrial broadcasters (e.g., the NAB and the National Religious Broadcasters) about the early version of the bill.

...
RAIN Analysis

...
Victory!
An amazing combination of influences has come together to craft a solution that should Photo: Kurt Hansonallow webcasting to move forward to a healthier 2003 and beyond, with benefits for copyright holders, webcasters, and consumers alike.

This is NOT a victory of webcasters over record labels (or, for that matter, vice versa). It is a victory for common sense, as all parties involved will benefit from a healthy webcasting space.

The record industry has apparently come to realize that webcasting should not be lumped in with CD burning and file sharing as one of their enemies, but rather that the new medium has the potential to offer real benefits for them if everyone quits acting as if they're adversaries.

And everyone else seemed to work together as well: Broadcasters did not flex their political might in Washington to try to quash this bill (and thus kill a potential new set of competitors), and Internet-only webcasters didn't use the negotiations to try to get themselves a leg up over broadcasters.

And record labels and recording artists -- the two factions that share in royalty payments -- used the bill to clarify the functioning of SoundExchange in a manner that had benefits for both sides.

Congress paid attention!
Finally, it's amazing to me that such a bill was able to get the attention of Congress -- and unanimous passage! -- during a lame duck session designed to focus on critical "homeland security" issues.

I'd like to think that last May's "Day of Silence" and the resulting press coverage (and support from listeners) played at least some small role in making this an issue that Senators and Congressmen were willing to pay attention to.

Now we can move forward
And now, let's see if copyright holders and webcasters can't execute those envisioned voluntary licenses and then start working together to, among other things, help break new artists, promote genres of music that have not gotten their fair share of terrestrial radio airplay in the past, and help sell records! - KH
...

Look for more details on this bill and industry reaction later today in RAIN.

I found out.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679618)

People who use EMACS are homosexual.

Re:I found out.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679663)

VI users are homersexuals aswell.

Re:I found out.... (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679938)

You are both correct.

Percentage-of-Revenue royalty payments? (1, Funny)

GTsquirrel42 (624871) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679622)

So, when do I have to start paying "Percentage-of-Revenue royalty payments" on the lemonade stand in my front yard.....?

Re:Percentage-of-Revenue royalty payments? (4, Funny)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679790)

Probably not percentage of revenue, but were you to use Led Zepplin's "The Lemon Song" playing on a jukebox as part of your stand's self-promotion, it would probably be wise to come to a flat-fee licencing agreement with the rightsholders in order to protect yourself. This is not meant to be funny. Don't mod it +1 Funny. Don't!

Maybe they should put their royalties towards... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679628)

...cancer research [cancer.org] !

"Your rights online" indeed... (1)

slayer99 (15543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679633)

...they seem to be disappearing fast. :(

Re:"Your rights online" indeed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679731)

"Online" is a transient status anyway.

I'm not worried. My offline rights are firmly protected by Heckler & Koch.

Re:"Your rights online" indeed... (1)

slayer99 (15543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679785)


Well, it goes a little further. So online radio stations must pay royalties, who next? What about hospital radio stations, should they have to pay too?

woohoo (0, Redundant)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679637)

Now I can go back to webcasting my Neil Diamond/talk radio station. I was afraid I'd go bankrupt. It almost died without Neil Diamond, but now, I can make millions!

comments from somafm (5, Informative)

pengwen2002 (469310) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679639)

The folks at somafm [somafm.com] have some interresting links and comments too.

There's nothing wrong with this bill (4, Insightful)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679652)

Honestly, how would you feel if something you put hours, days, and even weeks of effort, heart, and soul was being played FOR-PROFIT by a pay radio station by someone without your permission?

Whether non-profit p2p and netradio is stealing or not can be debated -- but when someone takes an artist's hard work and plays it over the internet with the sole purpose of making money, it is blatant thievery of intellectual property and disrespect of copyright, which does have a right to exist to spur innovation in an economy that is, was, and shall be capitalist.

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (2, Insightful)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679684)

Because the simple fact of the matter is that most online music stations are NOT for-profit at all.

Most of them, from what I've seen at least, are run by either (A) non-profit radio stations or (B) individual music lovers using Shoutcast or Ogg or what-eva.

And if the RIAA promotes their common "it promotes piracy" party line in this case-- oh, really? How many people are going to pirate a cruddy 56/96/128Kbps stream?

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (3, Insightful)

skajake (613518) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679708)

How would i feel? Pretty darn good if i was the artist. Probably pretty good if i was the record label too. I mean, hey where else can you get free promotion? You think the artist will get a red cent of those webcast royalties?

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (2)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679717)

I know, right? These artists put upwards of 24-48 hours into these songs making them the 1 hit wonders they are today!

Long live Menudo!

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (2)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679924)

Each of my songs requires an investment of about 200 hours for ~7 minutes of music ...

Granted, brittney spears spends 4 hours recording and then pays people to do the other 196 hours ... but what can ya do :)

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4680019)

yeah, and I have no idea who you are or what you play. so either A) you are a small time musician who doesnt get mainstream airtime, in which case you should WANT someone who would play you on ANY station to have access to it for free

B) its a side "job" if you will and you play because you love the music, and should WANT people to hear it

C) you suck balls and will never make it big.

Honestly, my previos post was a joke, and I am not slamming you, or the bill, as I really didnt read it over, but IMHO, if I did something that I enjoyed or was good at, I'd want as many people to get it as possible so that one day I could profit off of later works. (or perhaps older works that people now WANT to purchase).

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (2, Interesting)

dw5000 (540339) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679718)

I think you're missing the point. CARP suggested charging WAY MORE for web streaming than what radio stations are charged for royalties. Anyway, most of the royalty money never reaches the artists' pockets; rather, it gets lost in the record companies' "accounting costs."

Most people playing this music aren't looking at profit but are playing music for the sake of music. Those that use "non-profit" status to try and slip by this are going to run head-long into the IRS rules on NPOs -- and they're NOT forgiving of organizations that try to use NPO status as a "cover."

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679735)

Umm... Have you looked at the business model of a conventional broadcast radio station, lately?

They do *exactly* what you say seems so "wrong" for webcasters.

And, to add insult to injury, the RIAA actually *PAYS* "normal" radio stations to play that copyrighted music.

RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away FreeMusic (3, Insightful)

Omega (1602) | more than 11 years ago | (#4680026)

Too bad The Onion [theonion.com] took down this article, I think it explains the hypocrisy pretty well. At least Google still has the cache: RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away Free Music [216.239.33.100]

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (1)

m1a1 (622864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679800)

Broadcast stations play copyrighted music all of the time and pay no royalties. It is well understood that radio stations provide a service to the music industry that would otherwise have to advertise music. You have seen music advertisements on TV I assure you, and know what? They suck. Radio is the lifeblood of the music industry. That is why record companies pay of radio bigwigs to get their pet projects played. The only reason the RIAA is targetting webcasters is because it internet related and that scares them.

You're facts are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679811)

No one who had a pay web radio station was playing anything without anyone's permission. The pay web radio stations were paying ASCAP & BMI (music publishing clearing houses) to compensate the artists, just like regular radio stations.

The RIAA is using the DMCA to extort money from webcasters that they are not entitled to, over and above what radio stations have to pay.

... blatant thievery of intellectual property and disrespect of copyright,

As explained above, no thievery of IP was taking place.

which does have a right to exist to spur innovation in an economy that is, was, and shall be capitalist.

Using goverment force to take money from one person and give it to someone else, to whom it does not belong is socialism, not capitalism.

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (2)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679823)

What are you talking about? "Hours, days, and even weeks of effort, heart, and soul..??"

You just covered a *Madonna* song, for Pete's sake.

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679882)

Even if we agree that the FOR-PROFIT argument holds water, what about the NON-PROFIT organizations? The bill doesn't say they're exempt. On the contrary, it says that in six months they have to pay for everything, retroactively. If you were an artist, would you appreciate your record company squashing the lifeblood out of your non-profit, loving, internet fans, who only want to share the love? As an artist, you aren't going to see a single cent of royalties paid under this bill anyway, so if you do have an objection, it would have to be out of small-minded rabid capitalism, and not out of concern over matters of effort, heart, and soul.

Re:There's nothing wrong with this bill (2)

lactose99 (71132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679933)

Considering I am an artist [mp3.com] that allows my music to be broadcasted for free, I don't have any problem with it. Its not stealing, its promotion. Part of getting your name out there. Of course, I am part of the 99% of musicians who 99% of the world hasn't heard of. I imagine for musicians who are established and don't necessarily need the promotion might sing another tune, but I don't know as I'm not one.

The pigs are flying. (5, Funny)

DaveOf9thKey (599178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679664)

I've lived in North Carolina for more than 20 years, and this may be not only the first time Jesse Helms and I agreed on something, but the first time I wanted to stand up and applaud him for following through on it.

Clearly, the apocalypse is coming. Someone tell the FBI...

Re:The pigs are flying. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679797)

Clearly, the apocalypse is coming. Someone tell the FBI...

Oh, they already know.. but they'll just sit on the evidence until after it happens, then say that they couldn't count the evidence as 100% proof - just like what happened with 9/11

Good news for the "true" non-profits (2, Insightful)

dw5000 (540339) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679665)

like college radio and the NPR music stations (e.g. WXPN).

Problem, though, is that it could hurt the small, independent, for-profit stations. I can see Sh*tchannel using the royalty issue as a way to round up the last of the independents into their corporate droneness.

Guess this means I can start looking into streaming my music on the Web again. Now, if they could only relax the FCC rules on what you can play and when. (Not talking about obscenity but about the stifling rules on playing an artist more than once in a time period. I mean, if payola is legal now [with Sh*tchannel demanding $$$ from the record companies], then maybe we should toss out the rest of those 50s-era radio rules too.)

Re:Good news for the "true" non-profits (1)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679783)

Wait, though... unless I read it wrong, non-profits will still have to pay-- they'll just have a larger "grace period" in which they won't have to? So how is this good news for ANYONE, even the non-profits?

Or maybe I read it wrong...

Non profit status = (4, Insightful)

Crusty Oldman (249835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679669)

Non profit status = special license = jurisdiction = control

Just listen to webradio from other countries then (5, Informative)

hazzzard (530181) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679686)


Well, I don't really care where the music comes from.
Even if you don't understand the foreign languages,
there are tons of webradios elsewhere
that will not suffer from these problems
(i.e. don't have to do massive advertisements to afford casting good music). Does anybody have some links to good webradios in Italy, spain, mexico etc.?? Please post!

Re:Just listen to webradio from other countries th (2, Informative)

Darth Yoshi (91228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679750)

ComFM [comfm.com]

Re:Just listen to webradio from other countries th (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679923)

For GREAT radio, check out the Brazilians. Not sure if their radio is the best in the world, but I think it's close.

Cidade in Rio (back online :)
http://www.radiocidade.fm/
Cidade in Sao Paulo is good too.
http://rockwave.virgula.terra.com.br/

The above tend to play 60% english and 40% local pop brazillian music.

BTM

well? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679701)

Like most slashdotters, I have a busy, active lifestyle. And when I read about these new political events, I need to know up front: should I be please that the little guy is finally getting a break, or should I be pissed off that the MegaCorps(tm) are gorging themselves with another piece of the public pie?

Frankly, I can't tell by reading this summary. I'm forced to read the article and background information to form an opinion of my own, rather than sharing in the poster's rage (or satisfaction) at this travesty of justice (or victory for freedom)..whatever it is.

Please slashdot...let me know what I should think.. maybe an icon next to the story?

Re:well? (1)

jtharpla (531787) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679920)

Oh..my..gawd. Yes, please slashdot, tell us how to think. We're all to busy to have our own opinions and be anything more than sheep bleeting about our dismal fortunes and lack of respect. Yo, grow some intelligence, dude.

Re:well? (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679940)

there MIGHT be some sarcasm in it. Please remember that.

Re:well? (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679921)

When are we going to form into a political party, and do some real-world slashdotting?

How does this effect College radio? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679714)

I've googled myself to death in recent weeks looking for non legal-speak about how non-profit, free-format college radio will be effected by all this stuff. Now that the revised legislation is passed, what gives?

A lot of alumni from my alma mater were upset when our radio station stopped webcasting. That was a MAJOR connection for us. Where will students/administration go to get answers? Will it be affordable (less than 4 digits)?

-Foo

Re:How does this effect College radio? (1, Troll)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679775)

Stop living in the past. College is over, get over it. Move on with your life. Who cares about what your alma mater is doing. All they want you for is to give them more money, as if tuition wasn't enough.

Re:How does this effect College radio? (1)

chrisgeleven (514645) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679806)

It looks like (don't quote me on this) that if your college radio station is non-commerical/non-profit (which pretty much all of them are), then all royalty payments are suspended until June 30, 2003. This addition time gained for these types of broadcasters gives "both sides time to work out a new voluntary royalty structure."

So in a nut shell, if you are non-commerical/non-profit, you don't have to pay till June 30th, 2003. After that, my guess is there will be a very low yearly fee or royalty plan that you may or may not have to pay.

Again, don't quote me on this. But if it is what it sounds like, I am one very happy e-board member for my university's radio station!

The thing is.. Non-Profit means NO MONEY. (2)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679888)

So what the hell is this putting off till 2003 for? If you have no money because you're a Non-Profit, then you should make them pay $0. peroid. Hell, the least they could have done is forced the RIAA to PAY Non-Profits for the free advertising to pay for newer and better equipment for all the free advertising.

Re:The thing is.. Non-Profit means NO MONEY. (1)

chrisgeleven (514645) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679934)

Non-profit means that whatever money you do have, you pour right back into the organization. No one gets extra salaries (if there is any salaries to begin with) if the organization makes a "profit". All of that "profit" is just spent only for the station.

So in a college radio context, the "profit" the station gets from advertising after all of the planned expenses will more likely go towards replacing equipment, buying whatever CD's they can't get for free from the record companies, new computers, etc.

please, please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679723)

let michael get a fire any enema before I die.

I've always wondered (4, Interesting)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679733)

I fully understand having to pay royalties for playing music that is copyrighted, but I am wondering if I play music that the owner of the music licenses me to play do I still have to pay RIAA? Maybe one of the legal eagles out there can answer this for me.

Thanks,

Re:I've always wondered (2)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679855)

Of course, IANAL, but it would depend on the contract between the artist and the label. Unfortunatly, most artists just sign the dotted line and don't realize that they are henceforth, and until termination of said contract, slaves to the record company. This also means that what they make is not their own as long as they are making it under the label's distrobution channels. :S

So, long story short... yes, you have to pay.

washingtonpost.com story has details (5, Informative)

rhwalker22 (581141) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679747)

washingtonpost.com's story [washingtonpost.com] quotes several small webcasters praising the compromise bill. According to the article, the bill "does not establish specific royalty rates for webcasters. Instead, it authorizes the music industry's principal royalty collector, SoundExchange, to negotiate binding royalty contracts with small webcasters on behalf of all artists and record labels." Strange footnote: Sen. Jesse Helms had a big stake in the bill as he successfully protected small religious webcasters from the royalty axe.

I tried reading the bill (2, Insightful)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679758)

Way the hell too many 'subparagraph B(iii) except after 'Section C'. Apparently to make sense out of it you need to be all coked up like our President.

You'd thing after paying taxes to support a Congress to make 'laws' like this, they could spend a little to make it readable by the general public, which will have to hire laywers and subsequently be priced out of webcasting right there.

If this benefits the little guy, I'm all for it. Unfortunately, I can't tell. 'Course it's Friday and I haven't had my Dr. Pepper yet either.

I'm Done (3, Interesting)

m1a1 (622864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679759)

I don't don't know about the rest of you, but personally, I am done buying CD's. Honestly. I have put off making this decision for a long time, but honestly, it's long overdue. For me, this is the straw that broke the camel's back. I can only hope a lot of other people feel the same way.

The sad thing for the RIAA is, that I really used to buy quite a lot of cds. By the time graduated high school I had nearly 100, and this mostly bought out of my own cash. Even as a poor colloege student I always buy my favorite bands cd's, but not anymore. Sad really, looks like I'll never own that new Pearl Jam. Oh well, I'll support the band by continuing to go see concerts and buying t-shirts and posters. The RIAA will never see another dime of my hard earned money.

Re:I'm Done (2)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679789)

I'm afraid the RIAA usually gets a cut of concerts, t-shirts, and posters. It's all to recoup the 'loss' of recording the band in the first place. What the RIAA doesn't get, Ticketmaster will, and they'll rape you and me at the same time.

You could go give the band a fiver, they could probably hang on to that.

Re:I'm Done (1)

m1a1 (622864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679847)

"You could go give the band a fiver, they could probably hang on to that."

Hmm, I guess maybe that's what I'll have to do.

Re:I'm Done (1)

DrinkDr.Pepper (620053) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679845)

The RIAA will never see another dime of my hard earned money.

Sorry to break it to you, but if the bands you like are controlled by the one of the RIAA companies, RIAA makes money from concert tickets, t-shirts and posters too.

my cash to entertainers rules (2)

zogger (617870) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679905)

--I established my criteria on forwarding cash to "entertainments" a long time ago and have stuck to it. Once the media copy cost more than I made in one hour, I ceased purchasing new. This happened for me around the transition time from 8 tracks to cassettes. Once a "live" event cost more than two hours labor to me, I stopped attending. This is music, movies, sporting events as well. Saved me thousands now over the years. And by a long time I mean back when live concerts and sporting events where like 3$ to attend some places. IMO, there isn't a single one of them people worth more than that. entertainers and sports gods and their management packaging teams just aren't worth what they think they are worth. they make the money by people paying them, but to me they aren't worth it. this is just my personal opinion, anyone's mileage may vary, but really, some of those people being multi zillionaires? for that stuff, "entertainment'? It's just not that important. Entertainments are "amusing" they aren't necessities or all that valuable.

Now this is just my formula, won't work for anyone else, but I just got tired of seeing the waste and greed when I worked live music and a little film/television industry work.

"Artists" and "executives" and etc. I saw where huge amounts of the money was going, screw them greedy people.

As to the broadcasting-the netcasting-simple solution, it's called stop supporting them, if it was me with a station, I wouldn't play any stuff that required royalty payments to them. It would have to be free for use by order of the creator/copyright holder, or a different contract that was much more reasonable, but none of the full price riaa stuff.

Re:I'm Done (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4680001)

That had to be the gayest rant I've ever read. Christ, man, get a life.

There seem to be TWO possible outcomes. (4, Insightful)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679760)

1) Web radio dies, or goes "underground" and just becomes a lot less popular, and a lot more scary to be involved in. (due to the new-found illegality thanks to this bill)

2) Web radio stations start playing works by independent (non-RIAA-affiliated) artists en masse-- thereby avoiding having to pay the RIAA a red cent.

Actually, there's a third that is somewhere in between: 3) Web radio stations start playing only "mixed" versions of RIAA tunes, claiming that by producing a "modified, derivative work" it is legal. Then this gets hashed out in court, or worse in Congress...

As I see it, though, (1) is by far the most likely. Lots of the SlashDot types might be interested in indie music... but remember, lots of the listeners of these online stations are/were regular Joe-Blows. They want to hear Queen and Sting and Madonna and Eminem and Snoop Dawg, not (insert obscure indie band name here).

Le sigh... But if outcome #2 was the case... that would be very nice.. and might even spark a nationwide change in buying habits (i.e. people would start buying more indie music, leaving the RIAA bit by little bit... of course, this would only affect the mostly young and relatively Internet-literate (not necessarily computer-literate, but they're familiar with the Net and much of its underlying tech) folks who use Web streaming...)

What about free streams? (2, Interesting)

dheeraj (183178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679764)

I'm almost ready to go with a free Internet station that I'd do strictly out of love of music, and wanting to offer something different. I wouldn't make a penny off the stream, except the occasional voluntary PayPal donation.

So what does this mean for me? If my revenues are zero, do I owe zero? A lot of the stuff I'd be playing would be from obscure artists who would likely not get a PENNY from RIAA extor^H^H^H^H^Hroyalties anyway.

Or is there a mandatory minimum, as I remember reading of in previous proposals?

Re:What about free streams? (1)

Spaceman40 (565797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679908)

And earlier post mentioned a $500 minimum. Yeah. Sucks to be you.

But maybe there'll be something you can rig so as to register as non-profit, and then pay little or none...

But I don't think the RIAA will go for that. So shhhhhhh....

Re:What about free streams? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679997)

The best thing for you to do is avoid RIAA artists altogheter. If you make a direct agreement with the copyright holders, which in the case of unsigned artists almost always is the artist themselves, then the RIAA is not involved at all, as they don't have a copyright interest in every recording ever made, only the ones they make. The problem is, artists might be scared to give you royalty-free rights because the RIAA has a bad habit of ignoring artists who try to go around them. Afterall, if somebody were to prove that it is possible to become a mega-star without going through the RIAA, that could be the death of the RIAA.

My Grandfather died at Auschwitz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679773)

In doing some genealogy on my family history, I discovered some sad news: my grandfather died at Auschwitz concentration camp...very sad story, it seems one night he got very drunk and fell out of his guard tower.

Re:My Grandfather died at Auschwitz (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679786)

Not surprising, see as how all German are fucking drunks anyways.

It is time for dissidents to unite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679777)

With all of the goings-on in IP law and free speech and the even worse and more frightening goings-on in "homeland security" these days, I have decided that I am no longer just a "liberal citizen" of the United States. I feel as though all dissenters, all union members, and all non-whites and non-christians are in increasing danger day by day, especially after the most recent election.

I feel that we have crossed a threshold somewhere in 2002 and that I am now truly a "dissident" in the connotative sense of the word. Why am I posting as an anonymous coward from a public library? Because there are obviously reasons to be afraid.

I am sure there are others out there. It is time to begin considering what can be done to change the emerging "new status quo" within the United States which threatens our rights, our livelihoods and our beliefs.

Ideas, anyone? Other US dissidents, speak up!

Re:It is time for dissidents to unite! (2)

Joey7F (307495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679974)

I agree, it is all part of our evil republican plot. We are going to systematically murder every non white, non christian, non conservative...

Come on!

Sheesh...

--Joey

December 15th? (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679779)

Can someone explain why there is a deadline for negotiating the percentage-of-revenue royalties?

I read the article, but does this date only apply to the copyright holders of the content webcasters were streaming in the past? Ie, does the date only apply to negoating the roytalties with the copyright holders of content you streamed in the past, and does this prevent you from negoating custom roytalities with copyright holders in the future? (I can't imagine it would.)

another 8 months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679795)

until all the good webcasters go under-whoopie!

What about classical stations? (3, Interesting)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679802)

What happens to classical stations now?

The music companies might put out an argument "Well, since we sell Beethoven and Bach CDs, you owe us", but realistically, what do you guys think will happen to those who only play music too old to be copyrighted (at least, until Congress ups the copyright time limits retroactively again ;) )? Like Beethoven, Bach, Brahms and other artists whose name doesn't begin with B?

Re:What about classical stations? (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679992)

It would have to be a performance that is not copyrighted. Thye are all Beethoven, but that one was performed by the London Sympony. etc. You get my point

Sade (5, Insightful)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679814)

I'm not normally a Sade fan, and I remember holding some disdain for her music in years past (80's). But after hearing some of her recent stuff (downloaded via Gnucleus), I bought her album and went to her concert with my wife.

Exposure sells and it's the RIAA who are scared because maybe we don't want to buy the crap they are carpet bagging... maybe we will hold out for something better. They don't trust themselves.

One hit wonders shouldn't sell any records because the rest of their albums suck. While good musicians and artists who sweat blood to make amazing albums are still left behind. If the internet could do anything, I think it would even things out so real musicians would make the money they deserve and fluff bands get downloaded for the song that's good and passed over for concerts and cds.

Good music will always sell.

Re:Sade (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679942)

Artists LIKE having their recordings widely distributed as far as possible, as you are never going to go to a concert of an artist that you have never heard. Artists therefore want to be on the radio. The Payola Scandal was artists paying DJs under the table so that they would be advanced with more favorable airplay. (BTW, Payola is illegal when it's paid to the DJ. So long as it's paid to the station and disclosed somehow to the listerner, that's advertising and legal.)

For the marginal artists who can't get onto mainstream radio, they love the extra distribution. There are a lot of B-level artists under RIAA contracts who can't distribute their work by free MP3 files, even though that would be a great career move to do.

It's in their best interest to put out crap... (2)

Joey7F (307495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4680033)

...if it sells. If Britanny Spears suddenly wants more money and etc. They can let her go and push the next hot piece of ass. By selling sex rather than music, the RIAA can use an artist like a mass produced commodity instead of a rare talent like the good ones are.

They don't really even want good music because the people that write it could increase their demands. There are more pretty faces than talented musicians...

Fortuantely there are enough people that aren't attracted to sex_idol-pop to allow other artists to flourish.

MTV has a lot of fault in this. No one can tell what you look like on the radio...

--Joey

Congress Passes SWSA (2, Insightful)

drdanny_orig (585847) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679863)

they have the option of changing their status to non-profit and gaining a delay
The presumably also have the option of going out of business and paying nothing, which is exactly what the RIAA wants to happen. That's the only possible explanation for the exorbitant rates being demanded. I've said it before, I'll say it again: fuck 'em, and fuck 'em again; then keep on fuckin' 'em. Boycott big-money music!

Allows for voluntary agreement... (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679875)

This bill says that the copyright holders (record companies) can waive or negotiate new royalties if they want to. This isn't exactly the stunning defeat of RIAA that we were hoping for.

Whatever happened to Payola! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679891)

Record companies used to PAY you to play
their stuff, now they want to be paid.
Fickle bunch, eh?
-tongaloa

What the hell? (4, Interesting)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679895)

Why on earth do non-profit stations have to pay royalties? What the hell's up with that? I mean, come on. Isn't the idea of being non-profit that you won't have to pay excessive fees because you're not making any money? How do they expect non-profit webcasts to pay excessive fees just to broadcast songs to all twenty of their listeners? It's not like there's big money in webcasting...

Re:What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679994)

Well, if they don't have a business model, they should just quit then. The purpose of laws is not to protect businesses with bad business models and the recording companies shouldn't be obliged to support them either.

What next? A law saying DELL should supply free computers to all the dot-coms since they are not going to make any money and can't afford to pay for the computers?

How do they expect non-profit dot-coms to pay excessive fees just to use computers?

familiar by now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4679959)

"The benefits of this transaction are considerable, the potential harms negligible." -- the (newly all-republican) Govt. ...

unhappy (3, Insightful)

nege (263655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4679995)

That silence you just heard was the sound of 20,000 smalltime webcasters going offline.

Clear-channel (5, Informative)

Triv (181010) | more than 11 years ago | (#4680036)

This is slightly OT, but I realised something disturbing a few hours ago and it does relate to the radio/webcasting debate in a roundabout way.

I've got a friend coming into New York tonight, so I figured I'd check out a few local venues to see who's playing, what's going on and all that. One of my favorite music venues is Irving Plaza [irvingplaza.com] . (flash site) I like going to random shows, I like supporting local music and I like circumventing the RIAA as much as is possible.

Chck out the link above - see what's in the lower left-hand corner of the homepage under the Irving Plaza logo? "Clear Channel Entertainment [slashdot.org] ."

Fuck.

I. Can't. Get. Away. :(

Triv
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