Alternative Rock Internet radio station idobi.com sent out an email regarding their lobbying efforts in Washington on the Webcaster Settlement Act:
There is a lot to share. We’ve had several meetings on the Hill, with both the House and Senate sides, to discuss reintroducing the Small Webcasters Settlement Act. We’re still waiting on additional follow-up from the Senate side, however we have received a plan of action from key staffers in the House.
Before we share that recommendation, here’s the update. Because this is an election year and copyright reform is a hot topic, we’ve been warned that the Small Webcasters bill would likely get bogged down by a variety of interest groups jumping in to piggyback onto it. That could take a year or more to work out. As you know, that is time we don’t have.
The Representatives also cautioned they did not want to force rates onto SoundExchange because in a few years that would land us back in the same place we are now. Therefore, they suggested a plan that could be enacted quickly and would produce a longterm solution.
Plan of Action
The plan of action is a simple one. We, as small webcasters, need to reach out to the members of Congress who represent our individual states and districts with a clear and concise message:
“Dear Mr/Mrs Member of Congress, Please urge SoundExchange to negotiate a designated rate for small webcasters.”
In doing so we will also be asking members of Congress to save the future of this vital, young American industry and the many jobs and businesses within it.
As constituents of these states and districts our requests will carry a great deal more weight. In addition, it would be far more difficult for SoundExchange to decline a request coming from multiple members of Congress.
This course of action works well because it will give us what we were denied in the initial CRB ruling: the opportunity to provide testimony and to negotiate rates our businesses can viably sustain, while allowing for growth.
NOTE: If you decide to act please let us know which members you reached out to and when, so we can let you know the next steps.
Again, both our lobbyist and the staffers urged us to keep our message simple in this round. We only need to act in at least one of three ways (listed in order of most impact):
Make appointments to speak with the copyright/internet person in the local offices of your Senators and Representatives, and present a letter outlining the request.
Call those national offices, ask to speak with the copyright/internet person, and make the requests over the phone.
Email the national offices of your Senators and Representatives with the letter enclosed.
a. suggested subject lines:
i. Create Copyright Convo w/ SoundExchange, Small Webcasters
ii. Negotiate Copyright–SoundExchange & Small Webcasters
Along with these actions there are some important talking points to present, and also a few things to be avoided:
Start with the ask: “Please urge SoundExchange to create a designated rate for small webcasters.”
Make sure they know you are their constituent.
Let them know internet radio providers are happy to work cooperatively.
i.e. We want to continue to PAY fair and equitable royalties and PLAY artists who aren’t being played in the mainstream, while making sure Americans can LISTEN to their choice of music.
But we have to be in business for artists to receive those royalties.
Make it clear that SoundExchange is going to lose millions of dollars’ worth of royalties for their artists when internet radio stations/small webcasters either go out of business or are forced to block American audiences.
Once you’ve done all of the above, tell your story.
Avoid diluting the message. One thing and one thing alone must ring out: Negotiating an internet radio provider/small webcaster rate with SoundExchange in order to save this industry.
Don’t make SoundExchange the villain or show any anger towards them. Willingness to cooperate is key. We need the support from our representatives in order to get SoundExchange to welcome us to the table.