Today, a large coalition of webcasters, including small hobby operations to large sites-- including Yahoo, MTV, Pandora, Rhapsody, Live365, WOXY and KCRW -- are going silent for the day to bring attention to new royalty rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board that are set to go into effect on July 15. For many of the smaller commercial webcasters to continue to webcast the same content would cost more in license fees than their total revenues.
RAIN: Massive listener support cripples servers, switchboards: "An overwhelming response by listeners to today's ongoing 'Day of Silence' event has overwhelmed the web and database servers being used by SaveNetRadio.org and is tying up switchboards in Congressional offices all over Capitol Hill as a deluge of online radio listeners have rushed to contact their representatives to ask them to co-sponsor the 'Internet Radio Equality Act.'"
Mike Musgrove, Washington Post: Web Radio Stations Hope Silence Speaks Volumes About Fee Hike: "Many Web-based music services and some conventional radio stations that offer Internet audio streams are scheduled to shut off their online music and programming until midnight tonight. Organizers are calling it Day of Silence and are hoping it will focus attention on a royalty-fee increase that many Internet-based broadcasters say could drive them out of business."
Felix Contreras, NPR Morning Edition Internet Radio Silently Protests Royalties: "Many fans of Internet radio will be tuning in to nothing Tuesday, as many Webcasters participate in 'A National Day of Silence.'"
In Findlaw, RealNetworks' Senior Counsel Cecily Mak A Look at Radio Silence: When Copyright Law Reform Goes Terribly Wrong: "The webcasters have an excellent point: Instead of increasing rates enough to properly compensate rights holders and encourage creation, the new rates are so unreasonably high that they are threatening the survival of an entire industry. Unless the new regulations are successfully repealed, the new rates will result in true perpetual 'radio silence' for thousands of online radio stations - a loss for rights holders, distributors and consumers alike."
Deven Desai at Madisonian.net, Sound of Silence: "if nothing changes, on July 15, 2007, Internet radio stations will have to pay increased royalty rates such that many of the smaller and even some of the larger Internet radio stations will have to pay more than AM and FM stations. The increase appears to be large enough that many of the Internet radio stations might have to shut down. The whole system seems a mess."
On Thursday, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on Assessing the Impact of the Copyright Royalty Board Decision to Increase Royalty Rates on Recording Artists and Webcasters with testimony from:
La La Media, Inc.
Palo Alto, CA
Tommy Boy Records
New York, NY
Stunning Models on Display Records
Thomas F. Lee
American Federation of Musicians
New York, NY
President, General Manager & CEO
Cincinnati Public Radio