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IWA wants more time on digi-music proposals
By Jon Newton,
(more articles from this author)
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Music Industry News - as it happens
Source: MusicDish/Mi2N - April 10, 2002

The International Webcasting Association (IWA) wants the House Judiciary Committee on the effect of copyright law on webcasting to go past its May deadline to give the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property that's reviewing digital music issues and related proposals to amend the Copyright Act, "more time for review of items like the Fairness in Music Listening Act."

As things stand, the Copyright Office must recommend acceptance, rejection or modification of rates and terms in the highly polemic CARP (Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel) report by May 21.

"Simply put, the CARP recommended royalty rate structure, if implemented, will transform one of the most vibrant and diverse music distribution channels into broadcast radio's ugly twin," said Eric de Fontenay in the MusicDish lead story last week.

.".. the panel recommendations would provide a small set of firms that already control one media platform an inordinate advantage to compete and control the emerging webcasting sector. The implications represent not only a blow to nearly a century of public policy, but a profound loss for webcasters, musicians and consumers," he said.

In its hand-delivered filing, the IWA made a number of recommendations to allow copyright owners, "to be compensated while allowing webcasting to grow to its full promise, including an exemption for small webcasters."

Peggy Miles, IWA Chair Emeritus, said, "Music webcasters provide an important service to an under-served public. Since the consolidation of traditional broadcasting, there has been a growing need for more diverse and varied programming. Webcasters fill this need by providing specialized and niche programming now unavailable on terrestrial radio.

"Webcasters offer listeners the opportunity to be one with a community of like listeners, no matter where they live or listen."


But RIAA CEO and President Hilary 'Reach Out' Rosen asks, on the RIAA web page, "What's All The Fuss About?"

Already on record as saying, .".. in setting a rate that is about 10 times that proposed by the webcasters, the panel clearly concluded that the webcasters' proposal was unreasonably low and not credible," Rosen now says the CARP rates have become the subject of an intense "misinformation and propaganda campaign (so called 'grassroots' but really ginned up by sophisticated lobbyists in D.C.) - waged through the news media, emails to Capitol Hill and numerous Internet sites. The goal is to scare non-commercial webcasters - including college radio stations and so-called hobbyists - and their members of Congress into thinking that the CARP rates are going to drive non-commercial webcasters out of business."

To the contrary, she says, the CARP rates will enable webcasters to "thrive" because most of the fee projections reported in the news media, "make the erroneous assumption that every listener who ever logs into a given non-commercial webcast remains logged into the site 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. This assumes that no one ever logs off and listeners only visit that particular site. The notion that people stayed logged on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is preposterous and the subject of gross exaggerations."

She adds, "Webcasters have many costs, but one of the least expensive is the music that is the foundation of their business. Musicians and artists should not be forced to subsidize the profit margin of webcasters like MTV, Microsoft, AOL Time Warner and others."

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» CARP Defies a Century of Public Policy (2002-04-05)

Related News from Mi2N:
» Comments On Notice & Recordkeeping For Webcasting Compulsory License
» IWA Subcommittee Letter - The Effect Of Copyright Law On Webcasting
» RIAA Comment On Notice And Recordkeeping Rulemaking, 4-8-02
» RIAA's "REAL" Facts Behind The CARP
» International Webcasting Association Weighs In To Congressional Committee

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