Internet Radio: Copyright Cowards

SoundExchange is feeling Internet radio's pain.

How miraculous.

Goes to show you what a little pressure from your elected officials can do. So this is what's called a good faith offer to take the heat off -- excuse me -- resolve the unfair treatment of Internet streamers as it relates to music royalties.

Pardon my cynicism here, but just as a new generation adopts the Internet and mobile devices as the new delivery systems for entertainment, information and social networking; traditional media hunkers down and tries to make up for their lack of vision -- all this on the backs of Internet broadcasters.

Until Internet broadcasters marshaled their efforts to lobby Congress (with some encouraging success).

Until the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) realized it went too far in raising rates that could put small and large streamers out of business before they can grow their business.

Until the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) said, "hey wait a minute, we could be next". That's why the NAB is fighting them there (on the Internet) so they don't have to fight them here (on terrestrial radio).

So SoundExchange's offer to help the "little guy" still may not help Pandora. It begs question: is Pandora (the customizable, programmable radio station) a big company or a "little guy"?

SoundExchange is just looking to take the heat off and to avoid the potential of Congress passing a bill that is fair and equitable to all parties -- the real fear of the music establishment.

I don't care how many times they argue that royalties benefit the hard-working musicians -- I just don't care. There won't be any hard-working musicians left if their music doesn't get exposure. It used to be that this exposure occurred on radio and later through music videos. But in the future music will find its audience on the Internet, on mobile devices, and through social networks -- the same conduits the present copyright laws would inhibit.

No wonder the NAB is siding with Internet radio. They're next.

David Oxenford, representing the interests of the small Internet broadcasters, was diplomatic in saying that SoundExchange's idea is a first step.

I say, a cowardly step.

One meant to slow the streamers current movement to rouse Congress to take action. If SoundExchange and the CRB evil doers can manage to get Internet radio operators to take the temporary compromise they will buy time. Worse yet it will leave the Internet streaming business which is in its infancy in an unstable position for the period of the proposed concession.

It's no solution.Just a band-aid. A stop gap measure that serves the music industry' convoluted vision of their future. Only a fair and equitable resolution of copyright issues now can create the atmosphere for Internet streaming to grow later.

And, perhaps set a standard for terrestrial broadcasters at the same time.

The music business through SoundExchange is acting in a cowardly way turning their backs on the real issues.

And, should Internet streamers eventually settle for a compromise that does not resolve the issue for the long term then they too would be cowards.

Let's hope this doesn't happen because try as we may, radio and Internet radio must not be impeded from its mission -- saving the music industry from itself.

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