This letter was submitted to Senator Ron Wyden December 4, 2012 in opposition to the proposed Internet Radio Fairness Act of 2012. Feel free to contact Senator Wyden and the committee regarding this new legislation in progress to voice your concern and opposition!
Mr. Wyden, as a composer and working recording artist, I find your proposed Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA) riddled with erroneous claims, self-conflicting statements, poor judgement and, frankly, an eye to the interest of a specific group of share holders—who are not the originators of original, copyright protected work. I’m writing today to demand you rescind pursuit of this poorly constructed act of legislation.
The impact the IRFA will have on the digital market will be to provide fiscal freedom from responsibility to Internet broadcasters, enabling them to gain deeper profit from music broadcast. What is implied, yet not clarified, is that this profit will come at the expense of the originating artists and copyright holders. I will break down the IRFA proposal below to illuminate a few of its many flaws.
To begin, the language of the IRFA proposal is vague and does not elaborate in areas that must be made absolutely clear in legislation of new fields and new technologies. The IRFA claims that it will “enable new webcasters to start up and create jobs and increase competition in the music marketplace.” How? What jobs? What kind of competition in the marketplace? Which marketplace? And how will ‘other’ marketplaces, presumably for music, be impacted? These are large claims, and the methods by which these goals would be achieved are in no way illuminated by the IRFA proposal. The only thing that is clear in the IRFA proposal is support for the interest of “new webcasters.” The rest is either over-subtly implied, or nonexistent in the further text of the proposal.
The IRFA proposal states, “…royalty rates prescribed for Internet radio are established based on what a panel of special copyright judges determines to be the market rate for musical licenses. But there is no functioning market for these licenses and these judges are left with very little information to make reasonable conclusions,” and continues, claiming that Congress routinely intervenes to correct the work of royalty judges. These “judges” are agencies the likes of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) who have built the very laws and infrastructures that have protected and fed artists for the better part of a century. These agencies were founded when new technologies made music broadcasting possible—their specialty is in protecting artists in times of technological transition. The significant flaw of the IRFA is that it doesn’t seek to improve the methods, nor SUPPORT the long standing efforts of copyright judges to protect royalty reimbursements, but effectively undermines copyright judges work and redistributes royalties according to a special interest—presumably that of “new webcasters.”
The IRFA effectively releases restrictions on server-based duplication and Internet broadcast of an artist’s work. ASCAP and BMI have pursued royalty fees from Internet broadcasting based on the constituency of listeners; the IRFA makes duplication, i.e. pirated copying, legal for Corporate Broadcasters and eliminates a number-based audience count.
Internet broadcasts are rated, in the text of the IRFA, “fives times the amount of royalties—as a percentage of revenue—as other digital music broadcasts like satellite and cable” because webcasts easily reach five times more than other digital services. That is the nature of the Internet, Mr. Wyden.
Royalty judges make their decisions based on very specific information, much of which is supplied by artists themselves. Royalty judges have, in my own personal experience as a music artist, been consistently fair on behalf of copyright holders and music artists. Fair, Mr. Wyden; not excessive, not grasping, not greedy. FAIR.
The IRFA is simply poor legislation. It is yet another effort in a long trend of poorly thought-out legislations designed to capitalize on a transitional moment in history. Instead of weaving current and functional legislation into a new context, supporting what already exists to benefit original copyright holders, it aims to create innumerable loopholes by which new entities can profit—at the expense of original copyright owners—and with no restrictions.
I urge you to review copyright law and evaluate how that applies to the Internet. The royalty restrictions strongly imposed on digital broadcasters at this time are enforced by organizations whose sole purpose is to protect the work, ideas and material of their constituents. These organizations, the likes of ASCAP and BMI, have specialized in their field.
As a music artist, as a composer protected by ASCAP, this is an issue of massive concern to me. It impacts my potential for livelihood. Kill the IRFA as it stands and look to how you can serve existing agencies in their effort to secure royalties for original copyright holders.
Hi all - come listen to the PodCast about my most recent composition!
A year of recording and I’m almost finished - only one more song to lay down!
Recently I was in Seattle working and after 5 days of work followed by 4-days of recording I want to share with you the project in-progress.
This is the first of a series of PodCasts about The Cat Who Loved Flowers project - watch here for more!
A brief thought on the future as we hurtle toward it: The last month in Portland, Oregon, my hometown has opted to join the rest of the world in the 20th Century. Friend, compatriot and fellow CalArts alum Steve Bilow writes about it on his blog Almost Rational. I agree with him on all counts.
Now I wonder, if this is the stuff that paved the way for the last half century - what is paving the way for the next century? By this time 100 years ago Schoenberg had just begun composing Pierrot Lunaire (according to Wikipedia, he began composing March 12, 1912 and finished the following July) and already had finished Erwartung, though the latter wasn’t premiered for another 15 years.
I wonder, what are the works that point to the future of music now? What are the trends or movements in art that history will identify as ‘indicative of that age’?
I don’t know if these are questions worth answering, much less asking…but since we have the benefit of knowing history, it is curious to turn a historical glance to the present and ponder…
The return of the lethal improvising trio NIRUSU III! A full-length studio recording made at the legendary Maybeck Recital Hall is in post production and will be available before Spring! Watch for previews and samples here!
Improvised at the Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, California June 5 & 6, 2005
Susan Allen harp, Korean kayagum, & omnichord
NF Chase laptop, turntables
Rus Pearson double basses
Produced by NIRUSU III. Mixed & Engineered by Nicholas Chase
Solifuge for bowed music stand and laptop - rehearsal | nicholaschase
This is a recent rehearsal - go into recording on Saturday at Jack Straw…I thought playing one note would be EASY???
I’m re-joining Illuminated Corridor Department of Public Works at the Oakland Underground Film Festival to illuminate the stylings of PUNK FUNK MOB and OAKLAND FADERS. Live video, film projections and other strange lights by Nick Chase, Suki O’Kane, Alfonso Alvarez, and Wayne Grim. Performing with IllCorr is one of my alltime favorite things to do!