NPR Says F$%! the RIAA, Albeit in an Erudite, Strongly Worded Letter After Some Tea

Illustration for article titled NPR Says F$%! the RIAA, Albeit in an Erudite, Strongly Worded Letter After Some Tea

NPR isn't taking too kindly to the Sound Exchange-drafted royalty rate hike for internet radio stations. The burn? The new rates are "at least 20 times more than what stations have paid in the past" and treats public radio "as if [it] were commercial radio," though it's unable to bring in extra revenue to meet higher costs.
Also, the fee for internet radio is "vastly more expensive" than the over-the-air license, despite the smaller audience. In response, "NPR will pursue all possible action to reverse this decision," starting with a petition to the royalty board.

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We imagine if anyone has the pull to effect a reversal of the new royalty scheme, it's NPR, since it's partially funded by taxpayers. Then again, funneling tax dollars to RIAA fat cats toward obscene royalty payments probably isn't all that unconscionable to some of the government officials who've been receiving massive lobbying largesse for years on end. Even though we rarely tune in, public radio is a worthy cause, so we're totally with NPR on this.

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Update: It should be noted that Sound Exchange split off from the RIAA after being created by it, and now represents indie labels as well as ones under the RIAA banner. We still think the rate hike is a bad idea, though. Thanks, Idolator for the clarification.

NPR may lead fight against Internet radio royalty rate hike [Chicago Tribune via Consumerist]

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DISCUSSION

We've got 3 Minnesota Public Radio stations here: The Current which plays an "eclectic" selection of music from Natalie Cole to Nine Inch Nails, a classical music station which plays music that is mostly in the public domain from recordings that mostly aren't, and the news station which plays a wide variety of music as bumpers and fillers as well as programs from other producers that include music.

NPR itself puts music into the space that they expect local stations to use for local news and station ID so that, if there's a timing screw up the likelihood of dead air is diminished.

I think the recording industry has a right to collect on it's intellectual property, which I say as a software designer, blogger and photographer, but I think they need to re-read the fair-use clause. We also need to kill off large portions of the DMCA as unconstitutional.