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’.”