13 May 2002

Save Internet Radio!

Friends, we are in the midst of a lifetime-full of bad laws floating about. As long as I've been alive, I can always recall a handful of examples of laws that had unintended or harmful consequences, and needed to be protested vigourously. But in the year 2002, we have our hands full of these idiotic laws, and by every indication it's just going to get worse.

I will have more to say on this later, but in the meantime there is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. Save Internet Radio.

By the time you read this, barely six days will remain until the CARP decision goes into effect, and basically shuts down most small and medium-sized internet broadcasters and the services that help them such as SomaFM or Live365.com.

Call me old-fashioned, but for me music is really important, and Internet-based radio stations have been nothing short of a godsend, opening a world (literally!) of diverse new offerings I couldn't find anywhere else, to say nothing of helping me discover new artists or genres I can become interested in. And they do this mostly ad-free!

The new and onerous restrictions on licensing (in a nutshell, way more $$ than even huge commercial radio stations pay!) have already forced almost all major professional radio stations to shut down their internet broadcast, and if this thing goes through there will be hardly anyone on the Net with the funds to broadcast. A single person broadcasting a stream to himself would owe almost $200 a year! A small "station" broadcasting to let's say 1000 users hour (on average) would face fees of almost $200,000 a year. You do the math, because they certainly won't. Not only will commercial broadcasters like Live365.com be driven out of business (and just to make a point, they already pay license fees for all the music broadcast to ASCAP and BMI -- this new fee goes directly to our "friends" at the RIAA!), there would be NO college station or community radio station (NPR or otherwise) that could afford this.

All those wonderful streams that you either currently enjoy or were trying to get broadband so you could enjoy them ... gone. Sure, the cubicle prisoners will rise up in disbelief and anger, but by then it will be too late.

Here's what you can do right now.

First, visit SomaFM so you get a really good idea of what this is going to do to both them and to you. After that, head directly here to have a fax in your name dashed off to your congresspeople.

DO IT NOW. It's important. Thank you.

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