Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Contact your representatives, folks!

That greedy RIAA has done it again! If it's not enough to charge us $20 a CD, now they're trying to shut down web radio. They've gotten the Copyright Royalty Board to approve a sharp increase in the fees that webcasters will have to pay per play per song. The fee increase is significant enough that most webcasters will probably go out of business as a result, and our musical options will degenerate even further into mass marketed pablum. Find out more at http://www.savenetradio.org/about/index.html.

Feel free to use my letter (with the appropriate modifications) as a template for your own protest. The old wisdom said that paper letters were better than emails, but now with all the security stuff, paper takes so long to get into the Congressional offices that email is the only way to get something to your reps in less than two months. The text of my letter is below; you can find your representatives' names here.

Dear [recipient name was inserted here],

I was unpleasantly surprised to find out this morning that there is a plan put forward by the Copyright Royalty Board to drastically raise music royalty rates. It is my understanding that for most webcasters the new royalties will exceed their revenue, forcing them to stop webcasting.

I oppose this increase for two reasons. First, closing down webcasting services will sharply curtail the wide variety of musical choices currently available to me. And second, making it impossible for small independent operations to broadcast music from independent artists will without a doubt hurt the potential of young or unknown artists to break into the public consciousness. I'm no bleeding heart advocating that everybody with a guitar should get radio time, but I am a constituent who happens to love music and who would hate to see our rich independent musical culture degenerate into mass marketed pablum.

I respectfully request that you, my duly-elected representative, look into this matter and take action to prevent it. This letter expresses my personal concerns, and is my own composition, not a mindlessly forwarded form letter. Your prompt attention to this issue is essential. The new royalty rates are retroactive to January 1, 2006, and they will cause immediate bankruptcies if they become effective for even one day. You can find more information about this issue at http://www.savenetradio.org/about/index.html. I hope to hear very soon what actions you take to prevent this increase from taking effect.


Monica Raab

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