Well, folks, the Librarian of Congress came back with his/her final ruling on the CARP’s Webcasting royalty recommendations…and it ain’t much better than the original.
In other words, we’re toast.
As of 2:00pm MST, Radio Free Tiny Pineapple will be closing its doors to the general public and will simply revert to what it was in the beginning: a way for me to listen to my CDs at work.
Tears will be shed, garments rent, sack-cloth and ashes worn.
But, if you’re unhappy about the ruling, don’t blame the Librarian of Congress. According to U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee and Rick Boucher:
We are moderately encouraged that the Librarian of Congress reduced the rates for Internet-only webcasters to the same level AM/FM radio Internet broadcasters. We remain very concerned, however, that this rate will lead to the elimination of hundreds of small businesses and does not provide a viable model to serve both the Internet radio industry and recording artists.
Unfortunately, these rates are a direct result of the flawed ‘willing-buyer/willing-seller’ standard that Congress mandated the Librarian of Congress use in determining these rates. Instead of assessing a fair rate, the flawed standard instead requires the arbitrators to try to replicate willing buyers and willing sellers in an already flawed marketplace.
While the Librarian of Congress clearly went to great lengths to change the burdensome Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) ruling, we believe that such a contorted process and poor outcome can be avoided by changing the standard guiding the Librarian’s decision-making and removing other obstacles in current copyright law that were identified by the Librarian.
Huzzah! The CARP recommendations have been rejected by the Librarian of Congress. (Am I the only one who, when hearing the title “Librarian of Congress,” pictures some elderly, matronly woman shushing rowdy Senators for speaking too loudly in the non-fiction section?)
It’s probably only a temporary stay of execution, but it looks like we’ll be able to broadcast for at least a few more months. <knock on silicon>
As many of you know, the Librarian of Congress has until May 21 to either accept or reject the recommendations of the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (“CARP”) concerning Internet radio royalty rates and record-keeping requirements.
Barring an unseasonable drop in temperature in hell and the subsequent transformation of H2O from liquid to solid form, Radio Free Tiny Pineapple will be going dark on or around May 21st. RFTP will simply revert to what it was in the beginning: a way for me to listen to my CDs at work. You just won’t be able to listen in anymore.
That’s a shame because, based on the traffic and fan mail that we get, it is obvious that RFTP is meeting the needs of a niche that is poorly-served by conventional broadcasters.
It is also obvious, based on the number of CD purchases at Amazon.com that are made by RFTP listeners linking directly from our site, that RFTP is generating quite a bit of revenue for the record labels. (And who knows how much revenue we’re generating indirectly? I think Jonatha Brooke owes me a car.)
Still, I do believe that artists should be compensated for their works, and if artists (by way of their labels and the RIAA) feel that the CARP recommendations are the best way to facilitate that, who am I to say otherwise?
As Goethe once said, “There ain’t no fighting The Man…”
Radio Free Tiny Pineapple just got a mention in the Calgary Herald. In an article entitled “The Net Captures The World’s Music” they discuss the current state of Internet radio and list “three online stations to try”:
On Tuesday, our measly little Internet radio station started experiencing a 500% increase in traffic. I was baffled until I noticed that most of the new listeners were using Apple’s iTunes.
Sure enough, I don’t know who replaced Kerbango in providing iTunes’ Internet Radio listings, but they now feature Radio Free Tiny Pineapple in their Eclectic category. In fact, RFTP represents 3 out of the 12 Eclectic streams in the listing.
I think if they knew what a small-time operation this really is, they’d be appalled…