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[Fwd: Action Alert - Musicians & Webcasting]

thought this might be of interest

-------- Original Message --------
   From: "Suzanne Glass" <suzanne@indie-music.com>
Subject: Action Alert - Musicians & Webcasting



MUSICIANS LOBBY: http://www.musicianslobby.com/

Dear Fellow Independent Musicians and Business Professionals,

Your help is needed immediately to protect independent
webcasting! The US Copyright Office has recently proposed royalty
rates for the webcasting of music that will put many of these
stations out of the webcasting business!

As an indie musician or business person, your best source of
airplay will always be small, non-commercial broadcasters like
college radio or independent web broadcast sites. Unfortunately,
the new proposed royalty rates are too high for most small
broadcasters, who will be forced to cease webcasting.

In addition, the new rules also require broadcasters to post a
dizzying array of information about each piece of music played,
such as artist name, album name, record company release number,
start time of play, end time of play, how many people are
listening, and many, many other bits of data. All of this is
required to be posted online in real time - during the play of
the song. The technological and human resources to do this will
be expensive, and small players will be forced out.

How Did All This Happen?

The new regulations and royalties were mandated by the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 and the Digital
Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995. The copyright
office was charged with recommending the specifics of the new

While this new royalty would be paid partly to musicians (a good
thing!), it is becoming increasingly obvious that the rules will
further consolidate the broadcast industry. Independents will be
forced out, while huge conglomerates like Clear Channel will reap
the monopoly benefits. Unfortunately, few indie artists can
expect airplay from Clear Channel. We need the small independent

What Can You Do?

You can submit comments about these proposed rules. The copyright
office does not make it easy to submit, asking that you submit 11
copies of your comments, and send them in by snail mail. To make
responding easier for you, we have included a sample letter to
get you started, as well as the correct mailing address to send
your comments. Simply edit the letter, print and sign 11 copies,
and mail them quickly! If you don't want to edit the letter,
simply send it as is.

It is important that we flood the copyright office with comments
immediately to have a chance of reversing this troubling
situation! The deadline is March 11, 2002. Act Now!

==> Links to Additional Information





==> What Musicians Should Know About Webcasting

By Suzanne Glass, Indie-Music.com

Have you familiarized yourself with the details of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)? This is a law passed in 1998
that attempts to address the issue of artist royalties in a world
of digital distribution.

While the idea of the DMCA was to protect copyright in the
digital realm, the poorly written legislation threatens to crush
webcasting, especially at college and community stations - that
is, the stations most likely to play YOUR music.

In regular broadcast radio, stations pay a royalty to songwriters
for the use of their songs. For webcasting, under the new DMCA,
stations will be required to pay an additional royalty to
performers. While this sounds great at first, a further peek into
the DMCA reveals a downside that the new payment does not make up

First, fees for stations are expected to increase from a couple
hundred dollars to $10,000 - 20,000. The fees alone will wipe out
many small community and college stations. In fact, the only
stations who will be able to afford to webcast will be the big
corporate radio companies like Clear Channel, Radio One, or

In addition, the DMCA applies programming restrictions, limiting
the ability of DJs to play the songs they like. For instance, you
can only play 3 songs by any one artist in a 3 hour period. This
wipes out any "box set" type of shows which might feature an
artist for a whole hour or play an entire CD during the show.

If the above weren't enough, the DMCA also makes demanding
technical requirements for webcasting. Each song must have its
complete title and credits listed online, in real-time, while the
song airs.

And for the listener, the DMCA will prohibit requests!

As a final blow, the law as written requires stations to agree to
pay "back royalties" retroactive till 1998, when the DMCA was
passed. Problem is, the royalty rate has yet to be set, so
stations have no idea what their final bill will be. This unknown
has already caused many small stations to stop webcasting.

As an independent musician, it's in your best interest to keep
these smaller stations (the ones that actually PLAY indie music)
on the air. We need MORE variety, not more "X" corporate rock

==> Copyright Office Info

SUMMARY: The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is
issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking on the requirements for
giving copyright owners reasonable notice of the use of their
works for sound recordings under statutory license and for how
records of such use shall be kept and made available to copyright
owners. The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of
1995 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act enacted in 1998
require the Office to adopt these regulations.

DATES: Comments are due by March 11, 2002. Reply comments are due
by April 8, 2002.

ADDRESSES: An original and ten copies of any comment shall be
delivered to: Office of the General Counsel, Copyright Office,
James Madison Building, Room LM-403, First and Independence
Avenue, SE, Washington, DC; or mailed to: Copyright Arbitration
Royalty Panel (CARP), P.O. Box 70977, Southwest Station,
Washington, DC 20024-0977.

Counsel, or Tanya Sandros, Senior Attorney, Copyright Arbitration
Royalty Panel, P.O. Box 70977, Southwest Station, Washington, DC
20024-0977. Telephone: (202) 707-8380. Telefax: (202) 252-3423.


Copyright Office URL

==> Send 11 Copies of Comments To:

David O. Carson, General Counsel
Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP)
P.O. Box 70977, Southwest Station
Washington, DC 20024-0977

==> Sample Letter

      February 26, 2002

David O. Carson, General Counsel
Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP)
P.O. Box 70977, Southwest Station
Washington, DC 20024-0977

Dear Mr. Carson,

I am writing to submit comments on the proposed rulemaking for
webcasting rates. As a musician and copyright owner, I fully
support the rights of parties to protect their intellectual

However, the royalty rates as currently proposed will have a
negative and injurious effect on my ability to make a living.

I am an independent musician, which means I am not signed to a
major record label, and instead operate as a small business.
Crucial to the success of my business is the ability to receive
radio and web broadcasts of my music. If I cannot get my product
to the market through airplay, my business may not survive.

It has become harder and harder for independent musicians to
receive this crucial airplay in the last several years due to
massive consolidation in the broadcast industry, and the proposed
webcasting royalty rates will future complicate this problem.

Because of budgetary concerns, independent musicians typically
receive airplay only from independent broadcast sources that  are
willing to experiment with "unknown" music. These broadcast
outlets, both non-commercial/college radio and internet webcast
sites, are most often small micro-businesses - the very
businesses that will not be able to afford the proposed
webcasting rates. Additionally, the reporting requirements will
beyond the abilities of the small broadcasters, both technically
and financially.

The proposed rates are likely to drive many small broadcasters
out of business, while only large broadcasters will be able to
afford the webcasting royalty fees.

The negative effects of this situation are difficult to
overestimate for the small business musician, and for this
reason, I ask you to reconsider the proposed royalty rates and
bring them down to a level that small broadcasters can afford.


Your Name

MUSICIANS LOBBY: http://www.musicianslobby.com/

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