Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rescue Internet Radio: Sign the Petition

This is just a cut & paste job of email I got from Just passing it on.

Rescue Internet Radio: Sign the Petition
Online music is in danger. A recent ruling by an obscure regulatory board threatens to put independent and public radio on the Internet out of business.

The "Copyright Royalty Board" is dramatically increasing the royalties "webcasters" must pay every time they stream a song online. Public Internet radio like NPR is especially at risk.

The rules could shut down nonprofit and smaller commercial Internet radio outlets and force larger webcasters to play the same cookie-cutter music as Clear Channel. So much for new online alternatives.

This is not just another petition. The Copyright Royalty Board isn't used to hearing from the public, so your action can really make a difference. And we need to stop them before the new charges go into effect.

Artists must be compensated for their work. But the new regulations don't even differentiate between public outlets, small upstarts, and the largest commercial companies. The proposed increase would silence many outlets that play independent artists and musical genres you can't find anymore on the radio dial.

As soon as smaller webcasters start to attract a sizable audience, the royalty costs would be astronomical -- and likely fatal. And nonprofit stations like NPR should not be forced to pay so much money that they actually fear an increase in their listeners.

Industry-wide consolidation has destroyed musical diversity and shut out independent and local artists on broadcast radio. We can't let the same thing happen on the Internet.

The Copyright Royalty Board -- or if necessary, Congress -- needs to fix the rules so that artist and musicians thrive alongside a new generation of Internet radio webcasters. Send them a message by adding your name to our petition.

Tell Your Friends

Our goal is collect 50,000 signatures by Monday. Help us get there by telling all your friends that now is the time to take action.

Thanks for all you do,

Josh Silver
Executive Director
Free Press