The remaining unresolved issue in the SoundExchange negotiations (i.e. the fight over netradio) is the industry’s contention that people are recording streams, breaking them up into songs, and converting them into MP3s. You know, that thing no one does. If only the industry had some sort of study proving the damage streams did! Well, their white knight has arrived, and it’s called Media Rights Technology. The company’s press release claims that streams are responsible for $50 billion in annual losses, which is pretty impressive given that Universal’s revenue in 2005 was a mere $5 billion. But MRT is a reasonable company; they want people to be able to stream music, they just don’t want them to be able to record it. What’s the solution?
Why, to buy MRT’s products, of course! They just happen to make technology to “manage the unauthorized recording, capturing, transcoding, copying and ripping of media, in physical as well as digital form (streamed or downloaded).” When they’re not coming up with ways to magically prevent people from running a wire between their computer speakers and their tape deck or standalone CD burner, they like to threaten companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Yahoo for not having their streams fully protected. Guess what their definition of “fully protected” is?
The MRT X1 Recording Control solution has been proven by the RIAA and IFPI to be effective against Stream Ripping, and has been designed for rapid deployment on a RAND basis. RIAA executive Vice President and General Counsel Steven Marks comments, “We do see stream ripping as harmful to the music industry. It’s an issue we’ve brought to the attention of Webcasters, but so far, nothing has been done about it, even though there are technical solutions that do exist. We’ve encouraged Internet radio companies to speak with MRT because, from what we’ve seen, it certainly looks like a technical solution.”
If the Internet Radio Equality Act is to pass, it must include an anti-Stream Ripping provision.
On March 1, 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued rates for Internet broadcasting covering a period from 2006 to 2010. The CRB rates represent a 30 percent increase per year in royalties retroactive to 2006. The “per performance” rates also include a $500 minimum fee per channel.
The basis for the rate hikes was primarily a result of the webcasting community failing to adopt content control technology that would maintain the integrity of the streamed performance.
This press release came out at the end of April; the made-up issue it harps on is now what’s holding up an agreement that will allow netradio to continue. Funny how these things work, isn’t it?
Record Industry Now Completely Bonkers, Wants DRM on All Radio [Create Digital Music]