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Miscellaneous Monday-Morning Updates

Some news about recent topics of this blog:

Internet radio royalties: Last week, Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) introduced a bill, the Internet Equality Radio Act (PDF text), that would bring commercial Webcasters under the same simple royalty system as satellite radio--they could pay 7.5 percent of their revenues or 33 cents per "listener-hour" of music. Sounds like a good idea to me--now write your reps and tell them to get behind it.

Doing your taxes: One of the comments on this post praised Virginia's free online-filing site; having recently used that to do my own state taxes, I'm pleased to second the recommendation. It was a pleasure not to have to choose between paying an e-filing fee or stuffing an envelope with forms--thanks, Virginia!

Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts: Business Week tech columnist Steve Wildstrom finds Microsoft's "Windows Genuine Advantage" is even more annoying than previously thought: It can also serve as an advertising-delivery tool for Microsoft.

HD Radio: The selection of HD Radio-compatible hardware has recently broadened, but only a little. In August, Onkyo will start selling what will be, by my count, only the second home-theater receiver with an HD Radio tuner--pity it will cost $2,099 (!). My wait for an HD Radio-compatible receiver has officially become excruciating... if I can get this technology in a $100 clock radio, why isn't it an option in audio hardware that costs 5 times as much?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 30, 2007; 7:09 AM ET
Categories:  Recommended reading  
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Comments

I don't see the Internet Equality Radio Act going anywhere but down the tube. Who is going to enforce this new law? There is so many internet radio websites it would take more money to find them all then would be collected from them. Another waste of tax payers money even considering this. Lets stop worrying about taxing the internet and more about important issues.

Posted by: Good Luck | April 30, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The only reason someone would support Internet radio royalties is if you don't understand them. Setting royalty fees to be retroactive to 1998 will immediately cost all stations thousands of dollars that they don't have. Even if it were to not be retroactive, the fact is that most stations are run by fans of music FOR fans of music and most barely make enough cash to remain up and running. Setting these fees (that broadcast radio is completely immune from) so high that they will run these sites out of business only goes to show how deep the pockets are, and how cold the heart really is of the recording industry and the RIAA.
Contact your congressperson and tell them not to ruin college and independent music!

Posted by: Travis | April 30, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Why don't the webcasters start refusing to play music from lables that are part of the RIAA copyright fiasco. Or better yet why don't the webcasters charge the music companies for air/web time......
These companies get millions of dollars worth of exposure for free, they should pay for it.

Posted by: Chris | April 30, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Check out the Radiosophy HD100. $99 plus a $40 rebate.

HD Radio for $59.

Posted by: Tim | April 30, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Congressman ***,

I have recently learned of a recommendation of the Copyright Royalty Board to increase royalty rates for Internet radio stations. These recommendations have just been adapted as a new bill by Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Don Manzullo (R-Ill.)

I ask you to reject any attempt to allow these increases to happen.

The increase in rates will have a disproportionate effect on small Internet-based radio stations. Increasing the royalty rates these stations pay dramatically affects the ratio of operating dollars to net income.

Large conglomerates are in a powerful position to absorb new costs into a large operating budget and increase advertising costs therefore negating any change in gross operating income.

There are innumerable reasons to help Internet radio rather than hinder it.

• My family appreciates socially appropriate, child-friendly programming. This is not available locally.

• Child Safety: One of the over-air-radio stations available in my town, Kansas City, KS, regularly uses the phrase, "G** Damn It!" on-air. This is not appropriate for my five-year-old, nor anyone, to hear. Since one station uses that phrase, I do not feel free to listen to any broadcast station, except NPR on the weekends, for music.

• Advertising Safety: I do not watch, nor let my child watch, network television simply because of the invasive commercials. I am offended at being berated with violence at every turn.

• Specialty Stations: My son likes to listen to kid structured radio - not available over local channels. I like to listen to 80s music - not available over local channels. My wife listens to 'cowboy' and bluegrass - not available over local channels.

I ask you to visit any 'radio station' list on iTunes, live365.com, or any other listing service. You will find the varieties of stations rich and interesting.

My family appreciates diverse musical options depending on time of day, audience, mood or interest. I currently have that access. This bill would take most of that access away.

Sincerely,

Posted by: Aaron | April 30, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The VA tax website was much nicer than the MD one... but as a first year resident to VA I can't use it this year! So I'm stuffing forms in envelopes today... Don't see any reason to pay the $35 turbo tax wants.

Posted by: Sara | April 30, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft's "Windows Genuine Advantage" is not M$ only advertising delivery tool. My Access2000 project crashed. The computer dutifully asked to report this error as if M$ would fix it. After reporting the error, I looked at the next screen.

Surprise!

First: I was informed that Access2000 is no longer supported. That seems to make error reporting a useless activity.

Second: To fix the problem M$ suggested that I upgrade to the current version of Access. Of course, I have no way of even knowing if the bug was even fixed with the current version. Nevertheless, the point remains, that their error reporting was disingenuous and simply another sales pitch.

Unfortunately, marketing is not just a M$ addiction. Virtually all the software manufactures, as soon as they sell you a product, barrage you with endless appeals to "upgrade".

Posted by: Steve R. | May 2, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

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