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April 28, 2006


Listener James from Westwood

A link to this post ought to be the first item on the WFMU home page and on the Listen Live on the Web stream-central page. This affects too many people for it to be left to someone else to fix. If WFMU's listenership can rise up and pledge to keep this station on the air for a year, certainly its US members can petition their senators via phone, fax, or mail to kick this idiotic legislation to the curb. Freedom doesn't just defend itself! SEND A MESSAGE!!

Lee Chabowski

Thanks for posting information regarding the Perform Act. It made me furious! I've already written to Clinton and Schumer. I'm planning to do follow up calls next week. Keep up the good work. It's appreciated.



Maybe they'd better imprison all musicians for tempting us... Ah no... That's another ideology.

Confusing times we live in.


I think there is a somewhat significant difference between recording something off of analog radio and recording something off of internet/satellite radio, and it's a difference that everybody should be conscious of if they're contacting their senators to shoot down this ridiculous bill. The main reason that the government doesn't illegalize recording off of analog radio for private, non-commercial use is because it's somewhat difficult and time consuming to convert an analog signal to digital and then pirate it or put it up on a file sharing network. It's much easier to capture a digital stream, chop it up, and bootleg it or put up the tracks on a p2p. (e.g., I really doubt the Lightning Bolt live set from WFMU that I downloaded off of slsk was recorded from an analog source). That means that digital streams impose some free-riding costs that don't exist to the same degree at the analog level.

These free-riding costs are the scariest thing in the world right now for the record industry, and so they've been taking a bludgeon to any technological advances that are threatening their bottom line. Unsurprisingly, their money has been able to work Congress like a puppet. The real problem with the Feinstein/Graham bill is that it's overreaching, if simply for the fact that it doesn't seem like satellite/internet radio streams are responsible for the majority of material that's being bootlegged or put up on p2ps. Moreover, whatever pirating concerns satellite/internet streams might pose to the RIAA, the benefits that the music industry gets from these streams have to far outweigh the negatives. I'd wager that the number of people who are exposed to music and encouraged to buy it because of these digital streams far exceeds the number of people that are pirating off these streams.

I wish that writing to our senators would have some impact, but sadly, their staffers are probably just going to laugh at our handful of letters. The RIAA has a ton of money, and they're lobbying like crazy to cover their ass. It might be more effective if WFMU, or somebody, could spearhead a grass-roots movement and build a coalition out of all the small webstreamers/web listeners/and artists that rely on this medium throughout the country. In any case, something significant has to happen to stop the RIAA bulldozer from flattening our interests. It's horrible to imagine that WFMU would have to degrade the quality of their streams, but it seems likely.


nonsense. it's simply not significantly easier to rip an MP3 stream than to tape (or radioshark) an FM station and burn it to CD, whence it can be spread losslessly to all corners of the internet at no cost. in fact, with decent reception, the FM stream will actually be of higher quality than the (lossily-compressed) MP3 stream. look at the popularity of tv rips. how many of those are the result of internet streaming? "free riding costs" my lily-white ass. this is about reining in technology that the content industry does not control. they didn't have that control in previous technological generations, and it irks them to no end that they are slaves to the delivery channels as a result. they don't want that happening again.

this is fundamentally a product of a failure to understand the technology at work. the RIAA has been enormously successful at appealing to the bogeyman of lossless digital replication by playing on the fundamental technical ignorance of their audience, but their argument is bogus.


All I know is that FMU makes me buy more music. Unfortunately for the record companies it usually isn't the latest Toby Keith or Juvenile album. Unfortunately for me it is usually some obscure finish band that you can only get from some strange record importer (damn you Ken! bring on the humppa!).

But in all seriousness I think this is really scary. When the gov starts dictating the technical requirements for how things happen in industries that is a fairly big step towards a pretty scary world IMHO. Doing it for public safety is one thing (think car safety regulations).

The fact that a large company (or entity in this case the RIAA) can get the gov to do what it wants shouldn't be shocking to anyone with half a clue.

The other thing that sucks is I run an OS that doesn't play nice with all the crappy DRM stuff. So that would end my fmu enjoyment since I can't listen OTA.

To solve this I vote for forcing all senators to sit down and watch all gimme gimme octupus episodes back to back. That should fix it.



I'm writing to my senators. Unfortunately, one half of my state's senators is a total creepazoid who probably accepted money from Jack Abramoff.

I'm betting on it.


Okay, I wrote to my senators. Letters, not emails I mentioned WFMU's conservative DJs (all three of them) to Senator Martinez and went into depth regarding the RNC remix project in my letter to Senator Nelson.

I also mentioned the pledge, how WFMU doesn't take any money from the government, the large number of international donations that came in. I noted how one donation in particular came in from CHINA. China! How American is that? WFMU slips through China's censors! Woooooooo!

My letters were about three or four paragraphs long. I had to edit them before sending them off, because, seriously, these people skim the letters if they read them at all. Make your point and move on.

I'm going to call them, because a phone call is more effective than a letter. And a letter is more effective than an email. Or something like that. I don't know.



I completely agree that this bill is ridiculous and that it illustrates how the recording industry will ruthlessly do whatever it can to try to keep a leash on technology.

You're right that transferring analog to digital is feasible and done all the time with television, but I maintain that there are some significant differences between taping off analog and taping off a digital stream. Namely, if you told Sensei Rebel to put together his picks of the week (see his posts on this blog) by taping off his radio and then transferring them, I'm sure he'd tell you that he doesn't have the time. The timeshifting capabilities inherent in digital archiving open up some pretty big opportunities for potential pirates. The recording industry's biggest fear is that somebody like Sensei Rebel will bootleg his picks of the week and distribute them in whatever capacity.

This kind of bootlegging isn't a threat to the music world in general because, as nh Dave points out, most people that get exposed to music through the net tend to buy more music. Of course, as nh Dave also mentions, it's not the kind of music that the RIAA wants you to buy. Profits are getting spread around much more than ever before these days, and it's threatening the RIAA's monopoly power. Upshot is that they're going to throw a ton of money at Congress to impede optimal technological growth.

I wouldn't worry too much about a DRM hostile switchover just yet though. The only time the record industry loses in Congress is when they're blocked by another huge lobby, like the broadcasting industry. And in this case, Liz mentioned that the radio industry reps are fighting the good fight for us. No need to subject Congress to a GimmeGimme Octopus marathon yet; although, it could only help.


Time to break out the rifle and start eliminating some lawmakers.

Aerick Duckhugger


It's not like you have to record radio to tape and then digitaly transfer them in order to get regular old radio waves into digital form. That WOULD be the hard way!

I actually archived my own radio show a few times, when I was sick and had a substitute DJ in, by hooking up a boombox to the "line-in" jack on my computer. Then all I had to do was get my recording software to capture from that audio...

...and yeah, doing it that way results in better quality than taking from an MP3 stream... as long as you have good reception on your radio, that is.

Reverend Bud Green

This idea effects INTERNATIONAL laws since internet and satelite radio are beamed outside the terrority of the United States. This Perform Act violates international laws.
It is like when Cuba used to jam the broadcast of the Voice of America to the country on Shortwave Radio.
This Perform Act would be censorship and violate the Consituation of the United States cause not ALL streams on webcasting are musically related. In fact there are many religious broadcasters using both formats to speard their beliefs. Do this is violation of the speration of church and state. Also this is another way of censoring media and ideas that similar to what corporate media and television what people to hear.
This act is a violation of the Consitution of the USA. So if the Act is passed as stated, it is violation of it.
Also the DRM techology can be used to monitor what we listen to and in turn attacks our religious, spiritual beliefs, and political and social beliefs. DRM is just another example of censoring political belief.
Our personal liberties are in effect nothing and the United States is a republic but with the passage of this Perform Act - we are being dictated to what music and ideas that we heard and have no alternative to listen to what station that are owned by Westwood One, Clear Channel, and Infinity broadcasting give us. Or what the major 3 records labels diss out to us - Sony/BMG, Universal Music Group, and Capitol Music releases. No more independent music in the USA which is sick cause the 3 major labels can tell us by it and put any amount of money on it i.e. monopolize the music industry and now the radio industry.
Does one see that DRM techology is just another why to make Payola legal. Alan Freud would turn over in his grave cause he was found guilty of this and now DRM is going to make payola legal again in 2006.


Yes, writing your elected officials is a great idea and I encourage everyone to at least do a Google search for some emails. I regularly write my representatives on issues that concern me and have even received some personal responses, not just form letters.

Jim Coleman

The Perform Act must be passed to protect the arts in this country.


What would happen to media collection sites such as which provides thousands of online media, such as internet radio, online tv, newspapers, etc

Is the royalty payed from source, or replication?


Bad news! I wish I could erase the law so that everything returns as before...With this law they would not reduce piracy (songs downloading with peer to peer software)!!!
distribution services

Voice Recorders

Thanks for the sharing of such information we will pass it on to our readers.

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