Gandhi would be proud of what probably is the Internet's first passive resistance protest--the "Day of Silence" coming to Internet radio on June 26.
As a response to a court ruling that imposes huge increases on the royalty rates Internet radio operators must pay - which are applied retroactively, no less - Internet radio operators are organizing a day of silence to remind radio listeners that silence is "what the Internet could be reduced to on or shortly after" the royalty increase begins on July 15, reports Ars Technica
Internet radio operators are protesting the Copyright Royalty Board's ruling that royalties be raised for Internet broadcasters from a per-song rate to a per-listener rate, making broadcasting for many unaffordable.
Congress has introduced the Internet Radio Equality Act in an attempt to overturn the CRB's decision, but the bill has yet to make it to the floor for a vote. (A House subcommittee is holding hearings on the issue on June 28, however.) A coalition of webcasters has also asked a federal appeals court to delay the rate hike.
SoundExchange — the licensing authority backed by the major record labels — has recently offered Internet broadcasters a compromise. Smaller webcasters would remain exempt from the new royalty schedule until 2010. Large, commercial webcasters would have to still have pony up beginning in mid-July.
But criticism from SaveNetRadio, criticized SoundExchange's offer, saying that it amounted to "throwing large webcasters under the bus while simultaneously ensuring that none of the small webcasters would ever see significant growth."
Organizer Kurt Hanson, publisher of the Radio and Internet Newsletter, says that on June 26 Internet radio stations will broadcast static or silence interspersed with public service announcements asking listeners to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to support the Internet Radio Equality Act. And organizers are pushing terrestrial radio stations to join the silence.