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: performance, ringback tones, ringtones
Companies: bmi, t-mobile
Comments on “BMI Sues T-Mobile, Claims It Needs To Pay Up Over Ringback Tones”
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.
@zcat: I second that!
Oh, and also IMHO a ringback tone is very much in the same category as ‘hold music’ in terms of performance. I don’t agree that hold music should have to pay a performance licence, but given that it does it seems quite consistent that ringback tones should pay the same.
Ringback tones are just a costly way to tell people that the user is a douche.
On the other hand, I never would have even heard of ringback tones if not for this lawsuit, so maybe they’re shooting for a Streisand Effect.
Not going to get me to waste money on something so frivolous, mind you.
I feel like such an aging goober. I didn’t realize there was a difference between a ringtone and a ringback. Thanks for keeping me in the loop, Mike.
well, I’d never heard of a ringback tone, so there you go.
(that said, i barely even use our land line phone, let alone a cell… yay internet.)
Although…I’d pay good money for a ringback that spouted out derogatory language about whomever is not answering their phone.
Best way to deal with this is to focus attention on BMI. T-Mobile should boycott BMI and make sure that everyone who complains is told that BMI caused this. Turn off the T-Mobile ring tone store, cancel renewals on any BMI ring tones, and BMI is not allowed into the T-Mobile system from any 3rd party.
I agree just ban BMI ringbacks. Use the example taught by youtube … “F” you! you need us more than we need you… and be done with it. Then tell your customers due to a law suit with BMI we will be charging you for the use of all BMI music… here is a list of music that we will not charge for.
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!
>> 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.
BMI = Buttheads Morons & Idiots!
"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.
Ringbacks are in fact the product of Le Douche!
If you ever call someone who uses a ringback, be sure to punch them in the face next time you see them.
Nothing says “I love music” like making someone listen to your favorite song through a crappy cell phone earpiece.
I had no idea what ringbacks were; I thought they were the same as ringtones. Can you create your own ringbacks, like you do ringtones? I’ve seen sites like mobilespin.net that have tools for you to create ringtones for free, but not ringbacks.
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