Internet music may soon fall silent.
An obscure regulatory agency recently buckled under pressure from giant music labels and passed a rule that could force most independent and noncommercial Internet radio stations, such as NPR, off the Web. The ruling will go into effect on May 15 unless we urge Congress to Rescue Internet Radio:
After intense lobbying from the recording industry the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) ignored a massive public outcry and ruled to dramatically increase the rates webcasters must pay every time they stream a song. These draconian rules will shut down noncommercial and independent Internet radio outlets, leaving the Web with the same cookie-cutter music formats that have destroyed commercial radio.
Independent musicians, webcasters, media reformers and Internet radio listeners have joined forces with members of Congress to reverse this bad decision. Late last week, Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) introduced the bipartisan Internet Radio Equality Act (H.R. 2060), which would reverse the CRB decision in favor of a system that supports artists without putting webcasters out of business.
The Copyright Royalty Board passed these bad rules despite protest letters from tens of thousands of concerned music listeners. They refused our call for a public hearing and rushed through their decision at the urging of music industry lobbyists from the Recording Industry Association of America.
Musicians must be compensated for their work. But the new regulations would silence many outlets that play independent artists and musical genres you can't find on the radio dial. And nonprofit NPR, Pacifica and community radio stations would be forced to take down most of their online musical programming.
Inslee and Manzullo's legislation would allow artists and musicians to thrive alongside a new generation of Internet radio webcasters. Help pass the Internet Radio Equality Act by telling all your friends to take action now:
Industry-wide consolidation has destroyed musical diversity on broadcast radio. We must not let this happen to the Internet.
P.S. To learn more about this campaign visit www.freepress.net/netradioby ..Frannie Wellings
Associate Policy Director