Parent is right. Mike, RTFA! From your post: "The agreement is an astounding 25% of revenue as a bare minimum, with a requirement to kick-in $25,000 just to be a webcaster at all."
This is incorrect. From the article that you linked to:
"Small sites with less than $1.25 million in revenue, like AccuRadio, Digitally Imported, and RadioIO, will pay 12 to 14 percent of it in royalties. All stations will be required to pay an annual minimum fee of $25,000, which they can apply to their royalty payments."
The bare minimum is the annual $25,000, not the 25% of revenue. The 25% will apply to very few webcasters. (The article mentions only Pandora and Slacker) Most will pay around HALF of the only percentage that you included in your post, and in the headline nonetheless. Also, although this is probably an extension of the "bare minimum" inaccuracy, the $25,000 is not in addition to the percentage of revenue, which is what I initially interpreted your above quote to mean. Don't start this shit.
However, I still wholeheartedly disagree with this outcome. The descrepancy between 4% and 12% is pretty astounding. ([Citation Needed] for the traditional broadcasters royalty rates) SoundExchange is simply trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of webcasters. They DO NOT have the artist's best interests in mind, which is who the purported non-profit organization supposedly represents.
Note to parent: The article did not mention the 7% of expenses or the 30 day period for webcasters. Do you have a link?
What we need is some method to discourage frivolous (read: stupid, absurd, etc.) lawsuits. The above is just one way. I would go so far as to make it criminal. Lawyers won't help you sue if they can go to jail for it!
I agree with you, but the problem with "updat[ing] the law with regards to internet regulation" is that Congress really does not understand technology. Regulation, while necessary IMO, can have drastic and unintended consequences when the underlying medium is not fully understood. Not to mention the influence of lobbyists which rarely represent the good of the people. The obvious example is the DMCA which is commonly used as a strong-arm tactic against people that can't afford to go to court. (I know about the whole counter-notification thing, but that doesn't change the fact)
I obviously don't know a solution, but I lack faith in Congress to come up with one.
I had a similar experience with the game Mass Effect. Its DRM (SecuROM I think, but not sure) completely failed on Vista with UAC enabled. After trying it a few times, I googled the problem and found out the steps involved to make it work were insane and that I had already surpassed its 3 install limit. Of course contacting the company did NOTHING. $40 for a day or two of frustation.