Friday, July 13, 2007

Last Call for Internet Radio

Have you contacted your congresscritter yet? Are you mad as hell about the SoundExchange’s efforts – either through ignorance or deliberate malice – to kill the goose that lays its golden eggs?

Enough people have made their voices heard to make SoundExchange agree temporarily not enforce the new rates that kick in Monday. That could change at any time – and probably will once the public spotlight has moved away. The only real solution is legislation, and that means Congressional action.

I live and breath this stuff so the numbers make sense to me, although I concede they probably don’t mean much to the average person. Let me put these rate increases into a context most people can relate to.

Assume that about 7% of your paycheck is withheld for FICA and other taxes. If the government handed down rates like the SoundExchange is demanding from Internet radio, then you would receive a notice saying that for 2007 the rate had been increased to 21%. And that the rate was retroactive to January 1, 2007, so you also owed the difference between what was already taken out and what would have been collected had the new rate been in effect for the past six months.

Further, you will be charged a $50 yearly processing fee to cover the costs of collecting this money, and you will be charged an additional $50 for every dependent you have.

The rates will be increased every year for the next five years, ending potentially with a figure as high as 120%. And when you protest that the rates are higher than your income, you’re told that you should get a better job – it's not the government’s fault you don’t make enough money.

Mad yet?

Go to, get the facts, and then call or write your congressman today. Without legislation the ax could fall at any time.

- Ralph

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