Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is too funny

From today's Seattle Times

For that reason, an arcane but whopping fee increase for radio stations broadcasting over the Internet ought to give music lovers here and everywhere pause. And it ought to be tossed out in negotiations under way between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which pays most public radio station royalties, and the group representing record labels and performers. The Copyright Royalty Board, an arm of the U.S. Library of Congress, announced last March an increase in royalties of 300 to 1,200 percent — fees Internet radio providers owe performers. What were they thinking?

Such figures could put high-quality Internet stations out of business. The losers would be the listeners who could no longer enjoy such wide variety of formats. What is more democratic than the ability to listen to new and different music over the Internet?

The other losers would be the performers who supposedly benefit from such high rates. Fewer stations playing the music means fewer royalties and less exposure for performers.

When this same argument is made regarding local business taxes, the sales tax, or even the Federal Income Tax, it is routinely rejected as just a way for the rich to get out of paying their fair share. Now that the shoe is on the other stinky foot the unwashed grungy masses are suddenly embracing the Laffer curve and supply side economics.

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