"We'll make sure they get paid, even though they don't work for us..."

30 April 2007

A couple of weeks ago, the RIAA managed to get a law passed that requires royalties to be paid to them for all music streamed across the Net, regardless of the reason or origin of the music. If you listen to the audio stream coming from a local commercial radio station's website, they're paying the RIAA royalties for the privilege (then again, chances are they're getting paid by the RIAA to only play certain songs - this has been known for years but no one's been in a position to do anything about it). If you read the fine print, though, the law is written in such a way that they get to collect royalties for bands who aren't signed to the RIAA, too. This includes indie bands who aren't signed at all and make their work available on their websites as well as musicians who make their music available under the Creative Commons license, such as the artists over at Podsafe Audio.

So.. the RIAA has created an organization that collects royalties for all musical artists on the Net, whether or not they're signed under the RIAA. We have to trust that they'll give the correct amount of money to the right people... maybe I'm being a little parochial, but when I was a kid we called this a protection racket.

Time to make some noise, people. Contact your representatives by phone, snail-mail, or e-mail, and tell them that this isn't right.