Petition to Department of Justice, Loretta E. Lynch, US Department of Justice, New York State attorney general
Make ASCAP, BMI and SESAC accountable, and stop killing small business.
For years - decades in fact - there have been three main organizations collecting performance royalties on behalf of musical artists: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. These organizations collect fees from bars, restaurants, small businesses, etc., where music is played or performed. Moreover, they typically utilize "mafia" style tactics to collect money, threaten (and sometimes pursue) expensive copyright lawsuits, and in many instances, put good people out of business. In addition to these nefarious strong-arm tactics, there are fundamental issues with the entire system: 1. There is no way for them to figure out exactly what composition is being played in a bar or restaurant, every single night of the week, or even how many people are present, listening to the composition(s) in question. 2. There is no way for sure to tell where the money is going that they collect from these bars or restaurants or even if the money collected is actually going to the appropriate writer or composer. 3. They base their fees on "total occupancy," even those most of our bars and restaurants are rarely at capacity (and some never at capacity). 4. These organizations threaten lawsuits and scare the hell out of ordinary business owners, and in some cases, file copyright lawsuits which either (a) eliminate music altogether, or (b) put the company out of business, or (c) both. This includes even sending their operatives into businesses and applying strong-arm tactics to get businesses to cave in. The behavior is deplorable. 5. In actuality, some places feature original music almost exclusively. If those band and artists are wiling to waive their publishing/performance royalties, then the business owner should not have to pay these organizations fees which it can easily be shown their compositions are not being played. However, they try and get around this argument by again threatening copyright lawsuits, whereas some business owners do not understand this complex law but will cave in rather than fight on. 6. Rather than the venues having to pay these fees, performance artists (cover bands, etc), should be paying the fee to play the cover music they select, just like mechanical royalties that have to be paid when a recording is done. Juke boxes, like TouchTunes vendors, pay this fee - so why would a cover band be in any different? The answer is simple: the industry believes that restaurants and venues, mom and pop shops are easier targets for their extortion. And that's what it is, plain and simple, and they justify it by citing US copyright law, and scaring people into submission. 7 . The reason people LOSE lawsuits brought against them by these organizations is because they are copyright lawsuits, and there is no real way to fight that the way the licensing mechanism is set up. The system is fundamentally flawed, and must be changed. It is time for someone to step up and take them on. The only way to do this is by taking OFFENSIVE action, rather than for someone to be sued for an alleged copyright violation and have to defend it. The action should be based on RICO at the very least - because these organizations have, together, simply figured out how to LEGALLY extort money from businesses just barely trying to stay afloat. MANY hundreds if not thousands of venues, restaurants, businesses, etc., across the country, would join in such a class action. The reason businesses cave in is because of the threat of $150K for each copyright violation and they just settle for usually thousands of dollars. They don't have the money to fight it. It will take a motivated, volunteer organization to mount a case to stop this travesty, and it will take an organized petition to get anyone's attention. It is not fair to the business owners, not fair to the artists, or the composers. NO one is being treated fairly, and the ONLY thing that is happening is that vast amounts of money are being collected with basically zero accountability. Most business owners are interested in paying a FAIR license fee, and believe in compensating the writers and composers who bring us great music; however, the system needs to be completely scrapped and re-configured so it IS fair to all parties, and that the actual writers and publishers who compose the musical selections are paid, rather than having the money go into a black hole with no real accounting measures to see that an artist is actually paid, and in fact the correct artist. Additionally, the businesses themselves should not be liable for the fees - this should be on the part of the performers who are playing the compositions THEY select, so that there can actually be a real tracking mechanism rather than some grey area lining the pockets of executives, and real writers and composers never seeing a dime. Join this fight against these organizations, and help put a stop to unfair and down right criminal behavior. It will take a lot of us to make this happen, but it CAN be done, and will benefit all parties, except of course the executives who no doubt are lining their pockets from businesses who are continually bullied. THIS MUST STOP! Below are just a few articles about the casualties of these organizations, and how big of a problem this really is: http://www.theimproper.com/music/14440/tday-music-died-how-greed-killing-local-music-scene/ http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/oaklands-club-21-defiant-in-copyright-battle/Content?oid=4489264 http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20140331/PRINTEDITION/303289958/sued-for-a-song-music-licensing-lawsuits-hit-ct-restaurants http://www.inlander.com/spokane/pay-to-play/Content?oid=2437583 http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2016/01/21/ascap-copyright-infringement-lawsuit-tanners.html http://www.onstagemagazine.com/bmi-sues-bar-for-cover-band-show-over-1-5m/#.VxD3EBIrLu0 http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/columns/joe-holleman/thaxton-speakeasy-sued-by-music-royalties-group/article_c92c2cf3-3a9a-573b-b7bf-008c5b75c4ac.html http://kstp.com/article/stories/s3772041.shtml
Petition to SoundCloud
Pay artists more royalties from streaming services.
I remember when I first dropped the song and the sales of iTunes were booming back when streaming services were just making their appearance. Now with soundcloud and spotify nobody really buys songs from iTunes any more. Making money is tougher than it ever has been. In a new generation of music streaming services have taken over. While these new platforms have opened a new way for people to get their music out, they are not paying artists fairly. Major artists receive around 2,000 dollars for over 40 million streams. Our music is basically given out for free. I am a musician myself who receives bear minimum pay checks, while my music is being played by millions of plays. I need people to join me and help us to get us more royalties from streaming services. Why should the earnings from someone playing your song be the same as if one had bought it on iTunes?
Petition to Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Ted Cruz, Thomas Massie, Theodore Yoho, Mike Lee, Jody Hice, Louie Gohmert, Scott Garrett, Mark Sanford, Ron Johnson, Alex Mooney, Trey Gowdy, Mick Mulvaney, Jim Jordan, Thom Tillis, Dan Sullivan, Marco Rubio, Bill Posey, Raul Labrador, Tim Huelskamp
Save Net Radio! We Need Your Help To Petition Congress. 100,000+ Stations Will Perish!
SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! SAVENETRADIO 3.0 Just before the holiday break 2015 the CRB (Copyright Royalty Board) made a decision on new royalty rates for all U.S. based webcasters that helped the BIG webcaster and eliminates the small webcaster. Prior to this decision there was a special CONGRESSIONAL LAW titled the "Small Webcasters Agreement of 2009" or SWA which made these ridiculously expensive royalty fees affordable to the small webcaster and kept innovative programmers and new emerging artists on the air. (The SWA expired on Jan, 1 2016 at midnight ) They are now being SHUT DOWN by the tens of thousands.. Nearly 100,000 small webcasters will go off the air without YOUR help! Update: live365.com is already closed down. With this new ruling by the CRB there was NO provision for small webcasters and the prognosis is not good for about 100,000 United States small internet stations. The old rates under the Small Webcasters Agreement of 2009 (set by congress) were adequate, as long as you didn't make over $1.25 million a year and had less than 5 million listener hours monthly. These NEW rates, albeit lower ( for the BIG BOYS ), apply to everyone and there is NO provision for the small webcaster. These new rates are effective January 1 2016, but we can change this if we act NOW! Here's how this insane system works: The new royalty rates apply to EVERY COMMERCIAL BROADCASTER at .0017 per performance. If you had 1000 listeners on at all times, each song would cost you $1.70 to play. If you play 15 songs an hour, the royalties alone are $25.50 an HOUR! That's $612.00 per DAY and $223,380.00 per year. Here's the reality: In stream advertising rates are currently $1.69 per thousand impressions. That means if there are 1000 people on line and hear an ad (commercial), you make a whopping $1.69 (less 60%). That is the "going rate" nationwide. With 8 commercials an hour, (we will use 1000 listeners as a basis here). and 1000 listeners plus a 100% "fill rate" (meaning all 1000 listeners receive an ad), you would make $13.52 an hour, less 60% commission leaving $8.11 net revenue per hour. It doesn't add up and it's designed that way: Net Income is $8.11 minus SoundExchange royalties $25.50 = ($17.39) That is negative income of ($17.39) per hour.. That adds up to a net loss of ($152,366.40) annually in negative cash flow. No small business can survive this. This does not include royalty rates from ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN or SESAC, music purchases, overhead, employees (really?), computer hardware, software, web and stream hosting costs.. The kicker? AM & FM radio pays ZERO!! They are EXEMPT from these royalties. Could you imagine if an FM station had to pay over $2 Million in annual performance royalties for every 10,000 listeners in their market? The airwaves would be silent! The only difference between AM & FM and webcasting is how the audio is delivered. I don’t care how you monetize, a small webcaster can’t come close to breaking even under these rates and neither can AM & FM. (That's why they're EXEMPT) We’d be better off sending our listeners each a check for $200 and telling them to go out and buy some CD's Webcasting is the only businesses where a large audience is far more likely to be a liability than an asset. Who would possibly want that? This is crony capitalism at it's WORST. Internet radio was just regulated out of business in the dead of night just before the holiday break. We were told, " you're done." It shouldn't be like this. Everyone deserves to be heard. RAIN news stated that deliberations were going on for two years.. Really? NO small webcaster knew.. No small webcaster was notified. NPR was notified, Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM, college and high school radio was represented as well. ( they receive special rates for royalties the small webcaster is not privy to) The small webcaster was NOT represented. Small webcasters were not represented because they cannot afford to be represented. If they could they wouldn’t need Small Webcaster Agreement of 2009 to begin with. If one’s future were being decided in a court of law one would at least get a court appointed attorney. But there’s no such provision in copyright court. That should be a eye opening concern – an entire segment of the industry is effectively denied representation in government hearings that decide their future. In my mind that ought to be grounds for a lawsuit. But of course if one could afford a lawsuit one could afford to have been represented. What kind of insane, screwed up system is it where an organization does not have any way of knowing at all what their cost of doing business will be beyond two weeks into the future? How are any of these radio stations supposed to make any operational or business decisions when one doesn’t know what one’s expenses will be or even whether one will even be able to remain in business? Why isn’t there some law that requires advance notice? It isn’t like nobody knew that rates for 2016 would need to be set. What were these people doing? Why did they sit on their butts and wait until the very last minute with no announcement? Are they afraid that the small webcasters will go back to Congress before the decision takes effect as they did in years past? And of course this will kill niche formats and reduce opportunities for small and niche artists. The big corporate webcasters will just strike direct licensing deals with the major mass market labels. So new artists will not only have the usual struggle just to be noticed by programmers their music will be more expensive to play because they are too obscure to make it worth anybody’s while to cut a direct license deal. Most new and niche artists would gladly swap the pennies they get in SoundExchange royalties for wider exposure. It is the small and niche stations that provide such artists their best opportunity of getting airplay and exposure. And with small stations off the air those artists, even if they did prefer royalties over exposure, won’t likely get anything at all from SoundExchange. That will probably make SoundExchange’s bookkeeping easier not having to mess with tracking royalties for all those names that nobody ever heard of before except for freaks who listen to "pesky small" stations. The end result is that major label music has less competition from unsigned artists. Despite their posturing and professed concern about “artists” the only artists the major labels are concerned with are those they have under contract. All other artists are long tail competitors and thus a potential threat. If an emerging artist can build up an audience and following without signing with one of the major labels – then what are the labels good for in a digital world? The whole thing stinks from beginning to end from the lack of representation of small webcasters to waiting until the very last minute. Where is the oversight? Who holds these people accountable? It seems to me that maybe this needs to once again be brought of the attention of Congress. In conclusion: We are asking congress to step in quickly and put an INDEFINITE STAY on the Small Webcasters Agreement of 2009 OR DISCONTINUE RADIO ROYALTIES altogether and represent the tens of thousands of small webcasters facing execution. All radio stations PROMOTE the artist being played.. It's a trade off that has been in place for decades. This is reverse payola.. AM & FM pays nothing, why should anyone else? The THOUSANDS of companies and radio outlets affected:All shoutcast stations, All icecast stationsAll live365 stationstunein.com stationsiTunes internet radio.Windows Media GuideCar radios and players on the internet..The list goes on & On The execution has started already with live365 shutting down operations, firing their staff and vacating their offices, January 1 2016. There's still some time to save the rest of us, Please help! Sign the petition and save net radio.