Guess who I just got off the phone with? Well, if you read my blog, and read my last post, I bet you can take a good guess. At 20:23 pm, just 1 hour ago, I got off the phone with Rob Bishop, my congressional representative.
First off, I would like to thank Congressman Bishop for taking the time out of his busy schedule to contact me directly. Sometimes, even after lobbying exhaustively, you feel like you are never heard. No matter how loud you shout, or how hard you scream, sometimes, it feels like it falls on deaf ears. So, the fact that Congressman Bishop contacted me on my personal cell phone, shows that in fact, you can make a difference.
I don't say this to brag, but rather, hope to encourage others to lobby their issues through blogging. It works, and I'm walking proof of that tonight. However, if it's okay with Congressman Bishop, I'd like to discuss some of the conversation that we had on the phone this evening.
First, the letter that I received is incomplete. There seems to be a paragraph missing in the letter stating the position that Congressman Bishop stands regarding the issue. I am hoping to receive a copy of that letter with the included paragraph, so I can update my blog accordingly. Because to me, that paragraph stating his stance seems to be the most important, paragraph of the letter.
There are 2 bills that have been brought forth to nullify the Copyright Royalty Board's (CRB) rate hike, but have yet to reach the floor. One is from the Senate (S. 1353), and the other from the House of Representatives (H.R. 2060). Congressman Bishop wanted to make it clear how he would vote: he would vote to support the bill nullifying the CRB's rate hike.
This is good news on several levels, and I want to publicly apologize for my emotions in my previous post (it's been updated a bit). It's good to know that there is a congressman that is concerned for yours and mine best interests when it comes to this specific issue. Even if this isn't his expertise, and he needs to rely on his experts for making these decisions, it's still good to know that he is listening.
Most importantly, bill H.R. 2060 will be presented, as per news on savenetradio.org (PDF ahead). This means that our voice is being heard. We seem to be raising the volume levels loud enough to be heard at Washington D.C. I'm glad to know that Rob Bishop will be supporting that bill.
Next, during our conversation on the phone, I had the opportunity to voice my concerns personally about what these rate hikes mean to me. At work, we listen to radioparadise.com, an ad-free user-supported radio. All income comes from donations and purchased merchandise from users. Radio Paradise has made it clear, that if the CRB's rate hikes take effect, they will be forced to go offline, as they will not be able to shoulder the financial burden. This would mean that we would be forced to listen to another online radio alternative, and we love Radio Paradise. Unfortunately, there aren't many alternatives to turn to, as just about every Internet radio broadcaster is singing the same song: the royalty rate hikes will force them offline. So, where do we turn when Internet radio is effectively killed? How will we discover music and turn to new or mainstream artists and labels?
Finally, to close our conversation, Congressman Bishop assured me that he understands my stance and how this will not only affect my life and music tastes, but everyone else's as well. He has my back, and is looking forward to see the rate hikes killed.
It was an absolute pleasure to talk with Congressman Bishop directly, and I'm glad that some of the confusion is cleared up. I am going to hold him to his word that he will vote in support of bill H.R. 2060 and I hope that his vote will be unanimous with the rest of the House of Representatives supporting the bill. I am glad that he took time out of his busy schedule to talk with me. Rob Bishop- thanks for reading and calling me.
Bloggers- DON'T GIVE UP!!! Blog, blog, blog! Make some noise. Get your voice heard. I assume that my congressman contacted me by either him, or one of his team, watching his online presence with Technorati. So, mention their names directly, as I am sure that other congressmen and senators are doing the exact same thing, and you'll most likely get noticed. If you don't have a blog, or an online presence, then write them or call them, and let your voice be heard. The fight to save Internet radio isn't over. Let's pick up the vigor and stop the rate hikes dead in their tracks!
Stay tuned- DRM is next.