been an understandable public outcry against the RIAA's attempts
to more than triple the sound recording copyright royalties on
Internet radio. (See Save
Internet Radio from Corporate Money Grab.) One solution proposed
by Webcasters is to just not play RIAA-member songs under the
assumption that then they don't have to pay the royalty to the
RIAA's collection body, SoundExchange; Webcasters would then just
pay the independent artist the royalty.
fair and just because it is. However, the RIAA is not about being
fair and just. The game is rigged and the RIAA has rigged it in
their favor. The strategy of playing
only non-RIAA songs won't work though because the RIAA has secured
the right to collect royalties on all songs regardless of who
controls the copyright. RIAA operates under the assumption
that they will collect the royalties for the "sound recording
copyright" and that the artists who own their own copyright will
go to SoundExchange to collect at a later date.
Look at the
information on SoundExchange.com
(RIAA created SoundExchange) and see how it works. The RIAA has
secured legal authority to administer a compulsory license
that covers all recorded music.
recent U.S. Copyright Office ruling regarding webcasting designated
SoundExchange to collect and distribute to all nonmembers
as well as its members. The Librarian of Congress issued this
decision with rates and terms to govern the compulsory
license for webcasters (Internet-only radio) and simulcastors
(sound recording copyright owners) are subject to a compulsory
license for the use of their music... SoundExchange was established
to administer the collection and distribution of royalties
from such compulsory licenses taken by noninteractive
streaming services that use satellite, cable or Internet methods
of distribution." (http://soundexchange.com/faq.html#a4)
(the RIAA) considers any digital performance of a song as falling
under their compulsory license. If any artist records a song,
SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance
on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for
free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for
So how it
works is that SoundExchange collects money through compulsory
royalties from Webcasters and holds onto the money. If a label
or artist wants their share of the money, they must become a member
of SoundExchange and pay a fee to collect their royalties (http://soundexchange.com/faq.html#b6).
But, and this is a big "but," you only get royalties if you own
the sound recording copyright. If you are signed to a major label,
chances are you don't. Even if you do own the copyright to your
own recording of your own song, SoundExchange will collect Internet
radio royalties for your song even if you don't want them to
Go to the
SoundExchange site: http://plays.soundexchange.com/...
and take a look at the hundreds of indie labels for whom SoundExchange
claims they have collected royalties. Enter some of those label
names on http://www.riaaradar.com/...
and notice how few are actually members of the RIAA. Contact
the label and ask if they are a member of RIAA and they almost
certainly aren't and may not even be aware that SoundExchange
is collecting royalty fees on their music.
exactly is SoundExchange doing with the money they have collected
for those hundreds of labels that must have thousands of songs???
your Congressional Representatives
Another Royalty Forfeiture From SoundExchange
Help Us Find These Musicians And Get Them Paid
The Money Belongs To The Artists Who Created The Music
Note: The above was posted by DJ ProFusion on his blog
on April 24, 2007; and the article was circulated by Rock &
Rap Confidential. The RRC, one of the few newsletters both editors
of CounterPunch read from front to back the moment it arrives,
is edited by Lee Ballinger and Dave Marsh and now it's available
to you for FREE simply by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Rock & Rap Confidential articles:
Watching The Detectives
How I Became A Music Pirate
Do The James Brown!