Feeds

RIAA faces antitrust suit

Man bites pig

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) could find itself on the end of an anticompetitive lawsuit filed by Internet broadcasters.

The Webcaster Alliance, an organization which represents grassroots streaming media, says it will take legal action "unless the RIAA takes concrete steps to address anticompetitive conditions in the market that threaten to eliminate small commercial webcasters."

The trade group reckons there are 10,000 small commercial webcasters in the United States, but the RIAA's monopoly on royalty collection favors the large players. Most are not in compliance with either the Library of Congress' royalty Determination, or the controversial "Voice of Webcasters" agreement - a deal which a break away group of broadcasters cut with the RIAA last year.

The case, if filed, could hinge on an unguarded comment by RIAA attorney Gary Greenstein, who said he didn't care if 25,000 webcasters went to the wall, because AOL would offer soon offer streaming channels.

The eight webcasters who signed the agreement could also find themselves in the firing line.

"VOW Eight apparently entered into an agreement among themselves, and with the RIAA, in order to establish minimum rates that would raise the costs of doing business to many small commercial webcasters - including many Alliance members. By raising rivals’ costs, the VOW Eight were apparently intent on either eliminating their competitors and/or raising barriers to entry in the market for small commercial webcasting."

It's ironic that the litigious RIAA finds itself, for once, on the receiving end of a lawsuit. A case of man bites dog - or more accurately, man bites pigopolist.

However John Simson of the RIAA's collection arm, SoundExchange, argues that broadcasters should pay for their hobby.

"The average hunter spends around $1,800 per year on their hobby. How much do photographers spend?" he told us. "It's all well and good to run a hobby, but Kodak doesn't give out free film. It's only right to pay a reasonable fee," he said.

The RIAA is given exclusivity to negotitate under the US Copyright Act, Section 114(e), which states that:

(1) Notwithstanding any provision of the antitrust laws, in negotiating statutory licenses in accordance with subsection (f), any copyright owners of sound recordings and any entities performing sound recordings affected by this section may negotiate and agree upon the royalty rates and license terms and conditions for the performance of such sound recordings and the proportionate division of fees paid among copyright owners, and may designate common agents on a nonexclusive basis to negotiate, agree to, pay, or receive payments.

… which isn't the same things as an Antitrust exemption. ®

Related Stories

AOL Time Warner takes grip of net radio
RIAA agrees webcasting rates... with non-webcasting AOL, Microsoft
Bush signs Webcast Act
Helms explains webcasting deal
RIAA engineered webcast split - former exec
Webcast relief defers Day of Judgement
New Alliance for webcasters
Civil disobedience promised after net radio royalty bill falls
'RIAA-written' Net radio bill served to Senate
RIAA-backed webcast bill 'a disaster for the US'
'96 pc of Net Radio' to close after backroom deal screws grassroots 'casters

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.