I know that I am not the only internet user who reads BSO and listens to online radio (often at the same time). If you are like me and take advantage of any of the great internet radio providers available for free, or if you just believe that music should be accessible to all, listen up: your freedom to listen to music online is in danger.
Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board ruled that internet radio providers will have to start paying a flat rate based on the amount of content and number of songs they play. Currently, the only have to pay a portion of the profits they make from their listeners. This rule change, which could go into effect by the middle of May, will endanger countless non-profit internet radio providers, including NPR and Pandora Internet Radio. It is obscene that these free providers will be pushed out of business by the new rules. The current system, which applies the same rate to satellite and internet radio providers, is far fairer.
Please ask your legislators to support the Internet Radio Equality Act, H.R. 2060, sponsored by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Don Manzullo (R-IL). The bill would overturn a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board to charge internet radio providers a flat rate per song played, rather than the current rule to charge a percentage of their profits.
This ruling is entirely unfair to non-profit internet radio, such as NPR and music sources that currently offer internet users like us free music. The current system, which charges internet radio providers at a rate identical to satellite radio providers, allows many Americans access to free music online. This access to culture enrichens lives.
As an internet radio listener and music lover, I urge you to stand up for free internet radio.