A Gloomy View of Internet Radio’s Future

Writer and intellectual-property attorney Bennett Lincoff asked me to share this piece with you, and I have agreed. His perspective is dark, but he is uncommonly knowledgeable about the subject, he presents doable solutions, and the article accurately describes the difficult conditions under which Internet broadcasters like Grateful Dread Radio struggle each day. Seriously — without your help, as Supporting Members and as activists — we could be near the end.

Of course, I am an optimist beneath my own situationally motivated fear and gloom: I believe we can and we must and we will beat this thing ultimately. Keep tuned to GDR on-“air” and online for more info on the Netradio battle and about what you can do to help protect Internet radio and to keep stations like GDR on the air.

Here is an excerpt from Lincoff’s piece; I encourage you to read it all:

Consumers and webcasters are outraged at the license fees that the Copyright Royalty Board (the CRB) has determined will be charged under the webcasting statutory license in the United States. Everyone except spokespeople for the record labels expect that these fees will drive nearly all independent webcasters out of business.

Bennett Lincoff portraitBut inhibiting the growth of webcasting was the goal from the outset, with passage of the anti-webcasting provisions of the DMCA. The impossibly burdensome music use reporting requirements and now these grossly unreasonably statutory license fees are part and parcel of the over all effort to put an end to webcasting.

Websites have been set up through which consumers can send letters of complaint directly to their Congressional representatives, or sign petitions seeking Congressional action to correct this obvious wrong. I support these efforts. However, I fear that while they may result in some lowering of license fees for webcasters, they will not save Internet radio.

The record labels are going to out-maneuver independent webcasters once again.

We’ll see about that. The fight is on.

Read the rest of the piece and let us know what you think. And get busy — it’s time to take a stand for fairness and freedom for broadcasters and listeners!

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