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Power to the people right on

June 15, 2007 |  8:27 pm

You, the Fabulous Little People, weigh in on recent Opinion Dailies:

Of "Battle Royalty," Jon Healey's savage nightmare journey into the coming internet radio apocalypse, David Young of Wilmington, N.C. writes:

In point of fact, a Happy Meal is only $3.29. 

Seriously, though, Mr. Newhouse seems to ignore the fact that the rates set by a separate CARP for Satellite Radio deemed fair compensation for labels and artists to be just 7.5% of revenue.  By avoiding that little tidbit, Mr. Newhouse seems to be ignoring the fact that as a percentage, webcasters are being asked to pay anywhere from 75% to upwards of 200% of gross revenue in royalties.  Bear in mind that gross revenue has not been adjusted for overhead, operating costs, etc.  So, while what webcasters are being asked to pay may amount to TWO happy meals in terms of actual dollars (per listener, per year), as a percentage of their revenue, it is grossly overreaching….especially when contrasted by what Satellite Radio is required to pay (a mere 7.5% of gross revenues).  There may be issues needing to be addressed by the current business models for Internet Radio…but belittling the plight of current webcasters in such a biased manner is simply asinine, in my view.  The way in which the rates were set for webcasters goes against the very nature of what is fair and just in this country.  If 7.5% of revenue is acceptable to labels and artists for Satellite Radio, it stands to reason that it should also be acceptable for Webcasting.  Why the need for the double standard?

In my point of view, this whole affair basically comes down to an issue of controlling content dispersal on the web.  Right now, the labels don’t control the distribution channels on the web.  By eliminating smaller webcasters, and subjecting larger ones to ever-increasing fees, it seems to me the RIAA and SoundExchange are seeking to regain control of all music distribution.  Were I Pandora, Live365 or other webcasters, I would be charging a “finders-fee” for each and every song that is purchased and downloaded through a link from my service.  It’s only logical that if the labels and artists expect to be paid for use of their music, that a service that directly connects a listener to an online store where that listener can instantly purchase a song should be compensated for providing that service in the first place.

Omaha, Nebraska's own Jim Daskiewicz has had enough:

As a listener fed up with the big entertainment giants, sign me up as fan of niche music.

I'm with the Save Net Radio Coalition.

Note to the big producers, I'm not stealing your stuff, I'm just not interested.  My money goes to the labels and producers that provide music I want to listen to.  And, oh yes, netcasters aren't decreasing my purchases, they are introducing me to new artists who are reaping the benefits.

Related: If you, like David and Jim, have an internet radio jones, you may also want to plug your earphones into this week's Dust-Up between Jay Rosenthal and Kurt Hanson.

Michael McGough's poignant yet bold profile of the junior senator from the Ocean State, "Whitehouse takes Gonzales to the woodshed," draws the following response from Jason Brown in Germany:

Thank you for writing about this.  My grandfather, Martin Rossman, worked at the LA Times for 30 years until approx. 1992, primarily on the Foreign Desk.

I currently live in Germany and follow your paper online everyday.  I was quite pleased when you (finally) changed course on your opinion of the Iraq War.  It was probably illegal and now is only a chance for weapons manufacturers to please stockholders, young kids (both American and Middle Eastern) to die needlessly and a chance for the rest of the world (except for Albania, apparently) to think we are a rogue nation.

Please keep up on the Attorney scandal.  I have been following this case since late January and am convinced that the politicization of our Justice system might be the worst part of the Bush Administration, and that is saying a lot.

Please look more into Debra Yang (former USA in LA) and her apparent 1.5 million signing bonus (like she's Russell Martin on the Dodgers or something) for leaving public life and taking a job at the very law firm who is representing Jerry Lewis, the same man she was investigating before leaving her job.  Was she forced out as well?  Imagine if the law firm was encouraged by the White House to make Yang "an offer she couldn't refuse", 1.5 million bucks and now all her info on the case is perhaps lost because she works for the law firm that represents him.

Please check and see if major investigations in LA and SD are still moving forward or have they been stalled since this debacle in December 2006.

Congresswoman Sanchez is of Lakewood district is doing an excellent job of questioning justice department officials in House Judiciary Committee hearings.

All right, I've got to teach a university class on American newspapers here in Germany and will probably use your editorial on Senator Whitehouse in class this week or next, thanks!

cheers
Jason
www.jasonconga.blogspot.com

My searing-in-its-intensity woolgatherer on Carol Shloss' suit against the Joyce estate, "Portrait of the old man as a copyright miser," draws a cheer from Orlando, Florida's Gregory W. Herbert, Esq....

thanks for the in-depth reporting and analysis.  important topic for IP lawyers and anyone interested in the internet too.

...and a jeer from Shloss herself:

I read Tim Cavanaugh's "Portrait of the old man as a copyright miser" (5 June 2007) with interest. Being the "plaintiff of choice" in the case, I can tell you that the suit was not a "laundry-list" suit, nor did it involve issues of privacy that gave Stephen James Joyce some "sentimentally compelling" argument. It involved real damage. Mr. Joyce condemned my biography of Lucia Joyce without having read a word of it. He did not object to the content of the book (how could he?) but to its very right to exist. Having engineered an expurgated text with his refusal of permissions, he argued that the resulting narrative was not scholarship, but "a joke." Having created a hellish situation for everyone involved in publishing the book, he called the suit a "nuisance."

Mr Cavanaugh, who has obviously not read the book either, concludes that it is a "sordid family history few of us would want to see made public." Had he bothered to open the covers of the biography, he would have discovered a disturbing narrative without a demonstration of its veracity--the very qualities that stoked Katie Roiphe's disparaging review. Precisely.

This is the issue that prompted the lawsuit in the first place. The harm done by overly aggressive and controlling estates is not only real but far reaching, as Cavanaugh's opinion piece continues to demonstrate. He simply recirculates the negative judgment of a carefully researched work that was damaged by the extension of copyright laws, by the litigious nature of an angry heir, and by the fear engendered by his aggression.

Thank heaven for the Stanford Fair Use Project that, at this moment, is one of the few resources for scholars who have difficult stories to tell and who need the truth provided by historical evidence to confirm their work. Carol Loeb Shloss

These are the runners up. The clear winner in recent reader mail volume is Ronald Brownstein's "Border brouhaha baffles Beltway," whose correspondence we'll be publishing in a separate post. Thanks a lot for writing, and keep those cards and letters coming!

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