How The DMCA Is Restricting Online Radio In Ridiculous Ways

from the can't-play-that-show dept

When webcasting first started to become popular, as with any new and useful offering, the RIAA was quick to try to kill it off with ridiculously high licensing fees. While there was some back and forth over the years, the current fees make it nearly impossible to legally stream music online profitably. But, the details are even worse than you think. Even if you are paying the super high fees (which are much higher than terrestrial radio), there are all kinds of restrictions as well. Michael Scott points us to an excellent article in the Tufts' student paper highlighting how these restrictions are harming college radio without any benefit. As the article notes, they are:
"now prohibited from forwardly announcing song titles, broadcasting more than three songs from the same album or four songs from the same artist in a three-hour period, making archived webcasts of their shows available online for longer than two weeks and making those webcasts available for download."
The article points out that nothing in these restrictions will stop people from illegally downloading music, but they will serve to create an annoyance for the DJs who put together the programs for this station, and for listeners. Making shows available to download as podcasts, seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do to build up a fanbase. But... not allowed. The whole thing about preventing three songs from an album or four songs from the same artist in a three-hour period is the RIAA's ham-fisted way of trying to stop DJs from playing a whole album straight -- but it also kills off programs dedicated to a single artist. The article mentions, for example, how the University of Michigan's radio station can no longer air a radio show it used to have, dedicated to Duke Ellington. When I was in college, our student-run station had a show dedicated to the Beatles, which I imagine also could not be run today under these rules. Now, the article doesn't mention that there apparently are some ways to get waivers for these restrictions, but they appear to only be in very limited cases, and the details are somewhat secretive.

Yet another case of the DMCA putting in place ridiculous restrictions that do nothing to actually stop unauthorized copying.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, radio

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  1. identicon
    The Anonymouse Cat-herder, 2 Nov 2010 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Anonymous Coward

    Ok mister TAM... I think that's who you are anyway.

    I go out and buy a CD, take it home, using a program I bought I rip it to my hard drive and then dump it to my iPod, technically that's illegal as I didn't get the permission of the artist or the label or the publisher to do so, I am supposed to purchase the same songs from iTunes and then dump those to my iPod... however the DMCA or the RIAA is not in anyway stopping me from doing so, as much as the RIAA would like to. It is covered as fair use but the labels hate that.

    Also I can do the same to DVDs and Blu-rays, though doing that to Blu-ray discs is a little more complicated, that and I prefer to encode to something a little smaller then say a 30gb video file. the DMCA makes doing this illegal, BUT as I purchased the disc I can and will make backups so that I do not scratch the original discs. like my Reboot Season 3 discs, long since out of print and price per disc is in over a hundred dollars now, not something I want to chance so I rip them and set them on my shelf while watching them on my computer.

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