The wonderful web radio giant Pandora.com — and lesser web radio sites, too — are reportedly about to be done in by per-song performance royalty rates doubled last year by a federal panel. Pandora’s founder says he’ll have to shut it down soon if the terms can’t be changed. Read the whole story in the Washington Post, and wonder who has it in for the free dissemination of music that we don’t know but might like anyway.
Pandora was the topic of an earlier post on this blog, and it’s a service I continue to use, enjoy and promote to friends and family. I don’t know of an easier way to declare one’s listening preferences and have Pandora’s friendly Music Genome Project stream complementary sounds — some known, some unfamiliar –into my computer as long as I feel like sticking with it.
I wonder who is suffering from the popularity of Pandora. Is it really underpaid musicians? I haven’t heard any of the musicians I know complaining about this service. A lot of them say they listen to it.
a retired United States Bankruptcy Judge from Alabama . . . [who has] served for 12 years on the Alabama State Council on the Arts, including two years as chairman. He was a director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, an Alabama advocacy captain for Americans for the Arts, and a director on the regional Southern Arts Federation.
Judge Stanley Wisniewski holds a Ph.D. in economics from Catholic University of America and a J.D. from University of Maryland School of Law. . . [H]e represented a variety of clients in litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings [and] also served on the American Arbitration Association list of commercial arbitrators.
Judge William J. Roberts began his legal career in the Copyright Office in 1987 . . served as an attorney advisor in the Copyright General Counsel’s Office and was promoted to senior attorney for compulsory licenses. He was a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel attorney for the entire 12-year history of the panel. Since the inception of the Copyright Royalty Board, Judge Roberts has served as interim senior attorney. He is an adjunct faculty member at the George Mason University School of Law where he teaches copyright law.
These backgrounds of these eminent jurists (as reported on Board’s website) says nothing about their knowledge of or philosophies of the web. Just who is being protected? How will increased fees be distributed? Who benefits, overall? California Congressman Howard Berman is trying to broker an agreement that would relieve web radio from these performance royalty fees which sites like Pandora say are financially onerous — and the good Congressman has an impressive list of successes with initiatives that at first glance resemble tilting at windmills. Seems like all we citizens can do is wait, and hope determinations are made in our interests. How often does that happen? Anyone have a petition to sign? What a’bout a letter-writing campaign?