Third Party & Independents Archives


I recently was in a conversation with someone about what Democrats are standing for these days. I was not impressed with the rhetoric but lack of specifics on the DNC website (not that the RNC website was any better) and was told to go look at individual sites of the candidates. In doing so I ran across a bill by Dianne Feinstein named PERFORM (S. 2644).

The PERFORM Act, simply put, revokes your right to tape shows while imposing draconian DRM on all internet radio. This basically revokes the Audio Home Recording Act which explicitly allows a user to record music and radio programs for their own personal use. In return, the recording companies earn a percentage of every blank cassette tape and CD sold in the US as a way of countering the copyright infringement that may occur during this practice.

But now, it appears, that the recording companies want to take back this right that they agreed to give to users as a part of their draconian fight against music listeners who may copy music, not for sharing or giving away but for personal use. And, not only are they asking for this right back and trying to end 'fair use', they want to place even heavier restrictions on internet radio stations.

The laws protecting the recording companies already have the internet radio stations heavily burdened and taxed in order to ensure that newly burgeoning companies like Pandora and satellite radio stations XM and Sirius do not unfairly make money off of their products. However, if this law were to be passed, internet radio stations will no longer be allowed to stream in MP3 format, because it does not include DRM technologies. These small run internet organizations that are paying hefty 'extra' fees for being a digital radio station that over the air stations do not have to pay will have to pay for the new technology mandated by the government mostly likely shutting down those that decided to stay in after the extra fees were applied a few years ago.

Senator Feinstein, a Democrat, is not attempting to protect the 'common man' or the general public, it is interested in supporting big business. The artists are increasingly getting frustrated with the actions of the US based recording companies. In fact, a group of Canadian artists got together and started their own group in defiance of the actions of the current big recording companies, led by Stephen Page of the Barenaked Ladies. If this is how Democrats show concern about the true American, against Big Business, and concerned about personal liberties... well, I'm not impressed.

Posted by Rhinehold at September 29, 2006 8:57 PM
Comment #185329

“If this is how Democrats show concern about the true American, against Big Business, and concerned about personal liberties… well, I’m not impressed.”

So, to define the entire party, you look to a single candidate, and to define that single candidate, you look to a single piece of legislation.

a > b > c…. a=c Is that about right?

I’m not sure why you single out the DEMs on something so ubiquitous in politics…

How about this: a=a (where b & c are solely fodder for the gullible… anything presented on a web site or to the media are simple facades for single-issue simpletons.)

I would suggest that neither party represents any other interest other than the interests of those in charge of the party… and those who are willing to adapt their own beliefs to fit the spin and talking points.

My mother use to tell me that if I would keep quite and behave while in the grocery store, that she would buy me a piece of candy. In other words, she was not interested in my opinion or choices of what she bought while shopping… but at least she had my best interests at heart. I think that maybe the politicians are on a proverbial “trip to the grocery store” but I’m pretty sure WE are not invited to dinner.

As far as taking points from individual candidates to help color a national party:

“In 1998, he teamed up with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to enact the Iraq Liberation Act, which stated that regime change in Iraq was U.S. policy. And in the fall of 2002, Senator Lieberman was a lead sponsor of a resolution authorizing the President to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam.”

That is from Lieberman’s web site… Do you think it truly defines the Independent party?

Posted by: tony at September 30, 2006 11:29 AM
Comment #185359

So Tony, maybe YOU can tell me what Democrats stand for these days? I’ve been looking, the DNC site is underwhelming with lots of rhetoric and no substance. I was told to check out individual web sites by another commentor in a different article so I did. Now you say I should go elsewhere…

Why not help a guy out and tell me what they stand for or point me to it? OR are you admitting that the Democrats are just about gaining and keeping power without any substance?

As for why I am not talking about Republicans, I really don’t think there is any hope there. They’ve proven over the past 6 years that they have no substance, I guess I was just hoping that the alternative was different somehow.

I’m not very obtimistic.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 30, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #185363

“I’m not very obtimistic.”

We’re in the very same camp. I would not hold either party up as anything other than rampant power and corruption Gone Wild. (I have an image of Delay & Jefferson pulling up their t-shirts and shaking their bags at the camera.)

I truly wish we had a None of the Above option in the voting booths.

A good example… the RED side has a post now that seems to support Vernon Robinson. Look at his site and tell me there’s an option there. (Like NC needs another embarassing public figure.)

Posted by: tony at September 30, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #185422


Back to your original subject.

Commercial radio stations already pay fees to play music on the air. They are called BMI, ASCAP and SESAC fees.

What these fees are…are extortion.

You see, commercial radio stations make money by selling air time. 30 seconds cost so much and 60 seconds cost a bit more, etc.

We can’t charge the music licensing companies…BMI, ASCAP or SESAC for 3 minutes and 30 seconds (or however long the song is) for promoting their artist on our radio station. So not only do we have to pay them to play their music, we can’t charge them for our air time.

Now, if we don’t pay their licensing fees (extortion), they pull our rights to play their music.


If they pull their music, we are forbidden to play ANY music that is NOT licensed. In other words, no local yokel band can be played on our station…or we get sued!


If we DO pay our licensing fees and we play a song that is NOT licensed with BMI, ASCAP or SESAC…they can pull our music AND sue us.

So what do we do if we get our music pulled?

Talk…100% talk…and “public domain” music.

That’s the only thing that we can do that they can’t extort money from us for doing.


But get ready…IT GETS BETTER!!!

When we go digital…which has been mandated by the FCC…we’ll have even MORE fees to pay and even MORE equipment to buy to keep downloaders and recorders from stealing the music.

So when you hear of people getting sued by the RIAA…just remember that we’ve been victims of extortion since the invention of BMI, ASCAP, SESAC and the RIAA.

Just completely SUX.

Posted by: Jim T at September 30, 2006 5:32 PM
Comment #185474

Jim T, I couldn’t disagree with you more.

As a former arts administrator working with poverty stricken but, highly talented artists of various kinds, I have to side with associations which protect the income stream for artists.

Now, if you want to discuss how much profit becomes a rip off of the consumer, we could probably find some agreement, because the profit margins for the middlemen between the artist and public consumer are extreme in a lot of cases. Even some artists are tapping revenue streams that are surreal.

But, then we get into the whole issue of what responsibility the public has in pulling out their wallets to support such astronomic profiteering. Which leads into a discussion of whether any one person’s talent or expertise should warrant stratospheric profits while the homeless population grows, the national debt grows, and children still lack good nutrition and adequate school facilities in the richest nation on earth.

And we don’t want to go there, now, do we? :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 30, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #185519

“Now, if you want to discuss how much profit becomes a rip off of the consumer, we could probably find some agreement”

I don’t understand how profit, no matter how much profit can possibly be a “rip off” to anyone unless they are forced to purchase the product or service.

“But, then we get into the whole issue of what responsibility the public has in pulling out their wallets to support such astronomic profiteering.”

Then we get into the issue of personal choice. I’m not a big fan of golf but I understand that a lot of people are. I don’t care how much money Tiger Woods makes. As far as I know he don’t make any from me. I have no responsibility to bolster his purse. If I were a huge fan of Tiger Woods (and I am as a business model) I still would have no responsibility to bolster his purse. In either case I have the right to support Tiger and buy all of his endorsed products and boost his income as high as it will go IF I SO DESIRE.
So as I see it, the public has no interest in an artist’s salary.

“Which leads into a discussion of whether any one person’s talent or expertise should warrant stratospheric profits while the homeless population grows, the national debt grows, and children still lack good nutrition and adequate school facilities in the richest nation on earth.”

What do my talents have to do with you and why are you so interested in my profit level?

Posted by: tomd at October 1, 2006 5:56 AM
Comment #185551


It’s not a discussion. It’s extortion. Pure and simple.

As I said earlier…we have to PAY licensing fees just to be able to play music…and what do we get for giving artists air time to promote their product? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

They are reaping the benefit of us showcasing their tunes…promoting the sale of their work…and we have to PAY for the privilage of getting ripped off.

Now think about this.

If we buy a cassette and play recorded music on the air, we not only have to pay licensing fees, but we have to pay the surcharge (cassette) as well. We get ripped off TWICE.

If BMI, ASCAP and SESAC were to drop their licensing fees for commercial radio in exchange for our valuable air time, that would be one fair. After all, we promote their artists 24/7. And because of us, their works are heard by the public and the sales of their work increase proportionally.

So, you see, they put money in their pockets 3 times from us.

1.) We PAY them to play their artists.

2.) They get money from the increased sales of their work.

3.) They don’t have to pay for air time to showcase an artist.

So I really don’t sympathize with poor, very talented artists.

All that means to me is that we have to PAY, PAY and PAY some more.

Posted by: Jim T at October 1, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #185616

Jim T, Doesnt your station charge advertisers based upon how popular your station is? Is the reason for your stations popularity due to the venue and artist you choose to play, as well as your on air personalities? Are you forced to pay these companies due to contracts you signed or due to governmant regulation?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 1, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #185727


It was due to contracts that we had to sign in order to play music. If we did not sign the contracts, we couldn’t even play Polish Polka music…much less the most popular music today.

I see you point…it was our choice to sign the contracts (yes, we could have done nothing and aired talk radio or “public domain” music). And yes, we benefit from playing the most popular music (more numbers = higher rates and more revenue). But can we charge BMI, ASCAP and SESAC more because our numbers are up? Can we get them to pay US when our numbers are down?

No and No.

Yes, we signed a contract with them that states that we have to pay them for airing their music.

That still does not negate the fact that it is extortion…and the fact that we have to pay them to promote their product and put still more money in their pockets.

Extortion is extortion. Period.

Posted by: Jim T at October 2, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #185748

I don’t see that as extortion. Both parties freely entered into an agreement. Where is the extortion? If you feel your station got a raw deal then I suggest you get a better lawyer.

Posted by: tomd at October 2, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #185802

Jim T,
I understand your point, its like a monopoly where if you want to do the business you are forced into it because there really is no free market just the impression of one. I feel that way dealing as a consumer with just about any conglomerate.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 2, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #185832

Why not end copyright? The internet, globalization, Canadian drugs to the US, ownership rights to mice (and human?) genes… All are moral and/or legal issues brought to discussion by the tension between traditional laws, based on sovereignty (one could say) and the dam-busting free flow of knowledge and technology… Why not let freedom reign?

Part of the problem is the gray-haired industries (RIAA, MPAA) and their support network (the “system”) would rather fight the democratizing changes at hand for fear of lost profits and a future they have less power over than learning to adapt to these changes… Within a fortnight President Bush will sign legislation il-legalizing internet gaming (to protect Las Vegas)… In a way it echoes Capitalism versus Mercantilism all over again…

“History doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.”


Posted by: christian at October 3, 2006 1:05 AM
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