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Save Internet Radio

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Phillip

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There are some major, major changes going on that could dramatically eliminate most legal on-line radio stations (like Muppet Central Radio) from existence. A new approved proposal for the royalty rates began to break on March 2 and we’ve been following it as it develops. The rates will not only include a dramatic increase every year, but they are proactive for all of 2006 as well. A rehearing has been scheduled on the issue before it goes into law.

Internet radio plays by dramatically different rules than terrestrial (FM/AM radio). For example....

AOL Radio may receive a bill for copyright holders' royalties retroactive to 2006 amounting to $23.7 million, payable to a collective representing the US recording industry. And assuming the service doesn't become more popular, it could find itself paying as much as $56.3 million in copyright royalties in 2010. This while the world's three major copyright holders' groups - ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC - collectively charge terrestrial broadcast radio stations $972 per year per station, for the rights to broadcast exactly the same music to an equivalent or larger audience.
- Betanews
Without getting too technical, I’m sure you are wondering, “What does this mean for Muppet Central Radio?” If the agreement goes through as proposed and assuming Live365 stays in business in some form, our broadcasting and royalty payments will go up exponentially. We want Muppet Central Radio to continue as we’ve been broadcasting for seven years and have survived through many changes in the industry. Regardless, I want to let everyone know that significant changes of some kind will likely be happening concerning Muppet Central Radio in the weeks and months ahead depending on the outcome of this ruling. I’ll keep you informed as the situation develops.

Live365 has put up this page on the developments…
http://www.live365.com/choice/

More information and how you can help is available here…
http://www.savethestreams.org/

Discuss the issue here...
http://forum.muppetcentral.com/showthread.php?t=31734
 

Phillip

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Things are looking up on the Internet radio front. A new bill is before Congress that would require Internet radio to pay the same royalty rates as satellite radio. This proposed bill is significantly less than the CRB ruling on March 2. This bill now needs to be brought to Congress for a vote.

Ask your Congressman or Congresswoman to please co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act submitted by Congressman Jay Inslee and ask them to sign the book at the desk to get the bill brought to the floor for a vote before stations start going off the air on May 15th.

Click here to contact your Congressman…
http://www3.capwiz.com/saveinternetradio/callalert/index.tt?alertid=9679516&type=TA

Here’s more info on the Internet Radio Equality Act…

SaveNetRadio Applauds Congress’s Attempt to Save Internet Radio
The Internet Radio Equality Act Would Level the Playing Field for Webcasters

The SaveNetRadio coalition today applauded Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL) for introducing legislation that could save thousands of webcasters from bankruptcy. “The Internet Radio Equality Act” would reverse a
March 2nd ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that increased the fees webcasters pay to play music online by a stunning 300 to 1200 percent.

“Since the CRB’s March 2nd decision to dramatically and unfairly increase webcaster royalty rates, millions of Internet radio listeners, webcasters and artists have called on Congress to take action,” said Jake Ward of the SaveNetRadio coalition. “Today Congress took notice, and we thank Messrs. Inslee and Manzullo for leading the charge to save music diversity on the
Internet.”

The Internet Radio Equality Act would vacate the CRB’s decision and set a 2006-2010 royalty rate at the same level currently paid by satellite radio services (7.5% of revenue.) The bill would also change the royalty rate-setting standard used in royalty arbitrations, so that the standards applying to webcasters would align with the standard that applies to satellite radio royalty arbitrations.

“The illogical and unrealistic royalty rates set by the CRB have placed the future of an entire industry in jeopardy,” stated Ward. “This bill is a critical step to preserve this vibrant and growing medium, and to develop a truly level playing field where webcasters can compete with satellite radio. The Internet Radio Equality Act is the last best hope webcasters, artists, and listeners have to keep the music playing. I know New Orleans will be glad to hear it!”

SaveNetRadio, together with WWOZ, the official radio station of Jazz Fest 2007, is sponsoring the HOT 8 Jazz band in a live Internet concert during the New Orleans festival on May 2nd. The coalition is also educating Jazz Fest musicians about the possibility that Internet radio – an important medium for all musicians but independent musicians in particular – will all
but die on May 15 when the CRB royalty is scheduled to take effect.

The bill would also re-set the royalty rules for noncommercial radio such as NPR stations that offer Internet radio music.
 

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The Federal Register pushed back the royalty due date from May 15th to July 15th. This increases the window of opportunity for webcasters to fight the unfair royalty rates with better strategies and planned campaigns on Capitol Hill and awareness campaigns in media. Many believe that the pressure of HR 2060 (the Internet radio Equality Act introduced to the House of Representatives) might have played an important role in the extra time granted.

Please continue your efforts to call your Representatives. Ask them to cosponsor HR 2060. For their numbers and the talking points, visit www.live365.com/choice.
 

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Day of Silence

Live365, along with the SaveNetRadio coalition and thousands of Internet radio stations throughout the U.S. will be participating in a Day of Silence on Tuesday, June 26th.

On June 26th, from 3 a.m. Pacific to midnight, all 10,000 Live365 stations launched from the website, and Internet radio broadcasts nationwide, will go silent. Free listeners who tune into Live365.com stations will be redirected to a Day of Silence stream that offers an explanation, broadcaster testimonials and a call to action. VIP listeners will receive a Day of Silence PSA before being connected to the station's regular programming.

We understand the possible disruptions this can cause, but feel drastic measures are necessary. Joining together with all other Internet radio stations we will show what listeners can look forward to if things don't change quickly... Silence.

Internet radio needs your help. Take time today to contact your congressman through the link below.

http://www.live365.com/choice/
 

Phillip

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As of this past week, a group of Internet Radio Broadcasters (including Live365) have begun negotiations with SoundExchange to lower the new royalty rates that threaten to shut down all U.S.-based webcasters on July 15th. It's been reported that in a closed-door Congressional-led session, SoundExchange promised Congress that it would not initiate enforcement actions on July 15th provided that webcasters continued good faith negotiations.

There is now hope that performers and musicians can continue to receive a fair royalty for their work and that Muppet Central Radio can hopefully continue to stay on the air. This isn't an ending. No deal is finalized and nothing is set in stone. It’s still more than likely that Live365 will be raising their rates to broadcasters, but hopefully with some changes to how we do things; Muppet Central Radio will be able to continue to broadcast for many years to come.

We can still use your help to keep the heat turned up on SoundExchange until a settlement is signed, sealed, and delivered. Check out live365.com/choice for more info, addresses and phone numbers for your senators and representatives.
 
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