Save YOUR Internet Streams!
Two bills now pending in Congress would roll back the controversial decision of the Copyright Royalty Board which is scheduled to take effect on July 15th. If those bills are delayed or defeated, public radio broadcasters that stream on the internet will experience substantial increases for music royalties -- some may be forced off the internet.
This is because the new rates set by the Board will far exceed the already inflated rates set by a previous rate setting case in 2001; the new rates rapidly escalate until 2010, when they will reach 150% higher than the extreme pre-2006 rates that are now paid by commercial webcasters. Worse, public radio non- commercial educational webcasters will have to pay these same gargantuan commercial rates -- there is no traditional non-profit rate as there was prior to this ruling. Even more egregious, the new rates would be retroactive to January 2006!
The fine print of the Board's ruling requires that when a public radio broadcaster exceeds a minuscule average of just 221 listeners, they get thrown into the exorbitant commercial for- profit rate structure! This means that just about any public radio station that is music-intensive or simply is popular on the internet could be quickly saddled with the heavy commercial rate fee structure! Public radio is being penalized if it serves a larger audience.
IN response, save-public-radio bills have been introduced as the "Internet Radio Equality Act", House #HR-2060 and Senate #S-1353. Public radio organizations are urging their members to seek support of these two bills, now the only hope since the Copyright Royalty Board turned down public radio's request for a re- hearing.
The Bills offer a long-term solution by requiring the Board to balance the needs of creators to be compensated for their music with the need to minimize the destructive impact that impossible fees will have on the emerging public radio internet audience. For many public radio listeners, the internet has opened a new door to public radio listening. Without #HR-2060 and #S-1353 that door may be slammed shut forever.
If you'd like even more background information about this issue, please see my previous letters.
Deborah S. Proctor General Manager
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North Carolina Residents, your two Senators are:
Senator Elizabeth Dole
310 New Bern Avenue #122
Raleigh, NC 27601
Voice: (866) 420-6083 (toll free)
Fax: (919) 856-4053
Senator Richard Burr
2000 West First Street #508
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
Voice: (800) 685-8916 (toll free)
Fax: (336) 725-4493
Virginia Residents, your two Senators are:
Senator John Warner
PO Box 887
Abington, VA 24210
Voice: (202) 224-2023
Fax: (202) 224 6295
Senator Jim Webb
507 East Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Voice: (804) 771-2221
Fax: (804) 771-1813
To find the information on other Senators:
Go to http://www.senate.gov and at right hand side, enter your state. The contact information and links for your two senators will show next. Remember, post office mail to Washington is still delayed by two to three weeks, so if you're going to send a letter, it is far better to write to one of your senator's local offices rather than to the Washington office. But it is fine to telephone or fax or e-mail any office.
To find the name and contact information for the House of Representatives:
Find out who your Congressman/woman is if you're not sure. Enter your home ZIP code in the very left hand topmost box under the title "Find your Representative".
For both Congress and the Senate --
Find out who has signed on as co-sponsors:
Go to thomas.loc.gov and in the box titled "Search Bill Text" enter "Internet Radio Equality Act".
Then click on either the Senate version S1353 or the House version H2060 as appropriate.
Next, you will see on the bill page a box with the notation "Bill Summary & Status" -- click on that.
Then click on the box with the notation "Co-Sponsors". While this may be a bit tedious, you have now learned how to search any bill and you've mastered a lookup feature that few Americans even know exist.
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