BMI Sues T-Mobile, Claims It Needs To Pay Up Over Ringback Tones

from the are-ringbacks-a-public-performance? dept

I’m still in the camp of folks who doesn’t quite understand “ringback tones” — the ugly stepchild of ringtones, where it’s not what music your phone plays, but what music a caller hears when they call you and are waiting for you to pick up. While ringbacks have been a big deal in Asia, they’re still a relatively small market in the US. But, that’s not going to stop collections societies from demanding cash, of course. mike allen alerts us to the news that BMI has sued T-Mobile over its ringback tones. Of course, here’s the thing: a court has already established that ringtones are not performances, so are ringback tones performances? Or, of course, T-Mobile could just ban the use of any BMI songs as ringbacks, and then see how those artists feel about how BMI is “protecting” their interests…

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: bmi, t-mobile

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “BMI Sues T-Mobile, Claims It Needs To Pay Up Over Ringback Tones”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
zcat (profile) says:

To be honest, I totally agree with ANY move that makes ‘ringbacks’ go away. The couple of times I’ve called a number with ‘ringback’ music I have immediately hung up assuming a faulty line, because the only time I expect to hear music over the top of an outgoing call is when there’s a faulty connection and my phone is picking up a nearby AM station. The entire concept of ringback music is pointless technowankery and basically annoys the hell out of me.

Anonymous Coward says:

While I fully support banning BMI from T-Mobile, I do understand the possible ringback-hold music correlation. Just because you’ve purchased the rights to certain music, doesn’t give you the rights to perform it for someone else, and that’s in essence what you’re doing with a ringback tone. However, since you’re not performing the song in its entirety, it might come under the “fair use” doctrine. Pretty grey area, but BMI AND ringback tone users both end up as douches!

Yosi says:

Re: Re:

>> Just because you’ve purchased the rights to certain music, doesn’t give you the rights to perform it for someone else

By this “logic” when you’ve bought a CD you can’t play it on your birthday party. Or wait, it gets even better:

>> …since you’re not performing the song in its entirety

So you will play only half of each song? And then watch together half of DVD you rented.

One word – idiot.

Lachlan Hunt (profile) says:

"On Hold" Music

This is very different from a ringtone. With a ringtone, the owner of the phone owns a copy of the track being played on their device, to them, and maybe a few people who happen to be in earshot of the phone.

I’ve not experienced ringback tones before, and until reading this article I had never heard of them. But the idea seems like it has more in common with on-hold music that many companies play when they put you on hold or when you’re in a call centre queue. The only difference seems to be that this music is playing to the caller while the phone is ringing, rather than after the call has been answered, and it’s being played by the telco, rather than the callee.

I’m fairly sure the companies that do that have to licence the music for use on-hold, at least in Australia (I’m not sure about the US rules, but I’d assume they’re similar). But assuming that in the US companies do have to licence it then, then surely those rules would apply to this too.

The Best BMI Calculator (user link) says:

The Best Body Mass Index Calculator

A person?s body mass index is a number calculated based on their height and weight. It is used for a comparative analysis of people with similar heights. The body mass index is a brainchild of a Belgian statistician and mathematician named Adolphe Quatelet who created the BMI sometime from1830 to 1850. To calculate the BMI, divide the person?s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared.

History of Body Mass Index
The Body Mass Index has been in use as a medical benchmark for obesity and is the statistical estimate for Adiposity. It is also the standard employed by the WHO (World Health Organization) for its obesity statistics.

This number was introduced to the public through the government?s efforts to promote sanguinity, nutritional knowledge, and healthy eating habits. This simple statistic has rendered itself very important since it can adapt itself to continuous changes inherent in a community and can indicate the economic development on a nutritional basis.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...