Webcasting Non-RIAA Music In Protest May Only Make The RIAA Wealthier

from the and-the-RIAA-may-keep-the-money dept

Following the latest webcasting rates that will likely put many webcasters out of business, one suggestion was that webcasters should simply play non-RIAA music. In theory this would help in multiple ways -- giving those independent musicians more publicity while avoiding the draconian webcasting rates. In practice... however, that won't work. Slashdot points us to an article dissecting the fine print, where you'll discover that SoundExchange, which is the RIAA's collection body, actually gets to collect money for non-RIAA members as well. In other words, even for independent artists who don't want webcasters to have to pay, webcasters will still need to pay up.

The story actually gets even worse. As we noted a few years ago, part of the deal is that SoundExchange and the RIAA get to keep any unclaimed money for themselves. Even better, SoundExchange can simply pretend not to be able to find the musicians (as they've done with a ton of big name musicians in the past). So, chances are, many independent artists have no idea that SoundExchange is hanging onto a bunch of money they didn't even want collected and there's almost no chance they'll claim it -- meaning that if you try to avoid the webcasting rates by playing non-RIAA music, there's a good chance you're actually enriching the RIAA even more.

Just for fun, why don't we compare two situations? The RIAA tells people that simply listening to music without paying for it is a terrible crime that people should be punished for. Yet... the RIAA getting money for non-RIAA music and not paying the deserving artists that money is perfectly legal? Damn, the RIAA lobbyists are good.

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  1. identicon
    John, 1 May 2007 @ 6:41am

    I've been asking from day 1: Who gets the money from this so called Copyright Royalty Board? Where does the money go and what gives them the right to claim this money?

    I'm glad to see that Congress has stepped up as a result of the SaveNetRadio.org campaign. However, the real solution isn't a delay, postponing rate increases until 2010, nor is it keeping a revenue share model rather than per song per listener per stream fee. The solution is a serious rewrite of what a copyright is, what a performance right is, how each affect musicians and artists etc. Take lobbyists organizations out of the loop.

    Kurt Hanson has a good explanation here:
    http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/031607/index.shtml. He explains a great deal and has some more appropriate solutions than just delaying the changes of the CRB.

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