Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, dmca, radio



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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2010 @ 6:59am

    CharlieBrown -

    Just because the US says you need to pay the RIAA does not mean ausy law says you need to pay it. To take the radio station to court requires something called Jurisdiction. If your a wholly Australian company, you can only be sued In Australia and can completely ignore summons from the USA. A mocking email response to this effect would be a great thing as well. Also note that this is a civil suit so there is no Jail time attached to ignoring the summons (other then to inform the court that you are located in, run out of, and only market to people in Australia and the License is an undue burden based on the fact that someone in the US
    "could" get the transmission.)

    Its just like Liable tourism where a statement was said in Canada about a person in the US but the lawsuit was filed in the UK. The UK lawsuit is 100% unenforceable so is any lawsuit in the US other then a request to block the IP and some made up numbers about how much they owe you.

    The US does not own 100% of the internet, It cant tell people all over the world (as much as it would like to, and trys to do) to play by its rules. Otherwise you could use the lowest common denominator rule throughout the world.

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