RIAA Loses To Yahoo Over Webcasting Rates

from the finally dept

Well, finally. The RIAA has lost its case against Yahoo over what royalties the Launchcast service needed to pay. As per usual, the RIAA kept trying to add on additional fees. Rather than just webcasting fees, it also wanted an additional royalty for being an interactive service. This is a neat trick that the RIAA has been pulling a lot lately. In the past, every time some new technology comes along, the recording industry runs screaming and crying to Congress about how unfair it is, and how it needs a special new royalty for that new technology/service. But here, because Launchcast was online and combined elements of different services, the RIAA simply figured it could lump all the different royalties together and get Launchcast/Yahoo to pay multiple times for each use of a song. The entertainment industry sure does love trying to get everyone to pay multiple times for the same thing.

But, it appears the court was having none of that, saying that the service didn’t provide enough user control to make it an interactive service that would require a different license (though, it still has to pay the basic webcasting fees). The ruling here did not take kindly to the RIAA’s argument that being able to choose which station you wanted to listen to (or that you could skip songs) made it somehow interactive beyond regular radio:

“Launchcast listeners do not even enjoy the limited predictability that once graced the AM airwaves on weekends in America when ‘special requests’ represented love-struck adolescents’ attempts to communicate their feelings to ‘that special friend’.”

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: launchcast, riaa, yahoo

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Comments on “RIAA Loses To Yahoo Over Webcasting Rates”

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Thomas (profile) says:


I love this quote from the article: ‘The law at issue defines an interactive service as a service “that enables a member of the public to receive a transmission of a program specially created for the recipient, or on request, a transmission of a particular sound recording … which is selected by or on behalf of the recipient.”

In his 42-page opinion for the appeals court, Judge Richard Wesley said the U.S. Congress enacted the law because previous laws did not do enough to protect sound recording copyright holders from falling record sales.

This is the mandate of our elected representatives? Taking away citizens’ rights to prop up failing businesses? Glad I didn’t pay attention in Civics class in high school. I’d be really conflicted ..

Anonymous Coward says:

This is important:

“it appears the court was having none of that, saying that the service didn’t provide enough user control to make it an interactive service that would require a different license”

It doesn’t say that these double licenses are illegal or against anything, only that the service wasn’t interactive enough to qualify.

I don’t think it a win or a lose for the RIAA or Yahoo, yahoo still has to pay, and the RIAA hasn’t had the idea of double dipping slammed by the courts.

Thomas (profile) says:

@ #3

Good point. “You don’t get to double dip this time, but just wait – Surely someone will innovate some new service that makes the crappy experience of streaming music slightly less crappy, and then we’ll figure out a way that it violates the hokey law we made to protect your dying business model. Don’t send those lawyers home just yet.”

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