District Court Tells Yahoo, AOL To Pay Millions To Songwriters

from the watch-for-the-appeal dept

In the latest of many arguments about the various rights and payments companies need to pay for streaming music online, a district court has ruled that AOL, Yahoo and RealNetworks most likely owe millions to ASCAP for songs that they streamed to users between 2002 and today (and continuing on to 2009). This has nothing to do with the record labels -- ASCAP represents the songwriters -- but is yet another extraneous "license" where the terms are hardly clear, but basically serve to make it more difficult for anyone to play music. It was never in question that these sites would need to pay some kind of royalty -- the question was how much. The odd part of this ruling, though, is that the rate set by the judge is likely to be higher than the rate that traditional terrestrial radio pays. If there ever were a formula for making companies less interested in streaming music online -- this might be it. Of course, it's quite likely that this ruling will be appealed, so it's far from over.

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  1. identicon
    SomeGuy, 2 May 2008 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How it DOES work is very different from how it CAN work, and both are different from how it SHOULD work.

    A popular and successful journalist will be in higher demand than someone who's writing is clunky and uninteresting. There's no way to know that before they produce work. A computer programmer who write clean, functional code is in higher demand than one who botches basic data checks. There's no way to know that before they produce work. A writer who creates meaningful songs that can be put to moving music is in higher demand than one who churns out manufactured drivel.

    One of these things is not like the others; one of these things is not paid for service. But why not?

    It isn't how it IS done, but it COULD be done. Arguing that it can't be done is dumb, and arguing that it's the best way to do think because it's the current way to do things is ridiculous.

    Paid by who? Well, why does that matter? Paid by who they work for. I don't care if they're hired by a specific band, if they're farmed out by a "Songs-R-Us" clearing house, or if they just collect Paypal donations online. How is much more important than who, because once you have the how you can build a model to satisfy the who.

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