So what is Internet Radio Day of Silence? I'll let 3WK tell you.
3WK has, along with most U.S. webcasters, declared today, June 26, as a DAY OF SILENCE. This is our way of showing our listeners what Internet radio will sound like if a new sound performance copyright fee is allowed to go into effect.
New Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) sound performance copyright fees are so high it will make existence impossible for 3WK and most webcasters. This new increase will not only hurt the fledgling webcasting industry, it will also devastate independent labels and musicians who look to internet radio as a primary source of airplay and promotion of their music. If most independent webcasters disappear, this directly affects the musical choices available to you, the listener.
Among local companies, Earthlink Radio is participating. In fact, pretty much every major (in terms of audience size) webcaster and webcasting company is participating except for Last.fm. Visit this site to view a full list.
The new rates are scheduled to go into effect July 15, and are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006. Effectively, this will put most internet radio stations out of business.
As Techcrunch notes, since large broadcasting companies are incapable of winning new listeners over with compelling content in an open market, they have resorted to lobbying for laws to push the competition out. And they've succeeded.
What can you do? Call and/or write to your Congressman. Be polite but make it clear you are unhappy. If you're in Georgia (which you probably are if you're reading this), I recommend pointing out that this is precisely the interference with the free market that many of them ran for office promising to prevent.
Here is contact information for the Georgia delegation:
Jack Kingston, 1st District
Email:jack.kingston AT mail.house.gov
Sanford D. Bishop Jr., 2nd District
Lynn A. Westmoreland, 3rd District
Henry C. "Hank" Jr. Johnson, 4th District
Phone: (202) 225-1605
Fax: (202) 226-0691
John Lewis, 5th District
Tom Price, 6th District
John Linder, 7th District
Jim Marshall, 8th District
Nathan Deal, 9th District
(10th District is vacant)
Phil Gingrey, 11th District
John Barrow, 12th District
David Scott, 13th District