22-Jun-2002 (Sat)

Well, you may have heard that the Librarian of Congress released the final ruling on the additional webcasting rates: they are half of what CARP proposed, but still high enough that they will put nearly every webcaster out of business, since the new fees will be way more than any of them make. And certainly more than we make here, since we don't make a dime on our webcasts. Buy a t-shirt, won't you?

I've updated my Webcasting Legality page. Other good summaries of this mess are at Save Internet Radio and SomaFM.

As far as I can tell, the only ``appeal process'' remaining is to write your representatives and get Congress to change the existing law. Save Internet Radio has links and suggested messages.

4 Responses:

  1. q says:

    What about music that is given away for free? (ie the author is not represented by a label, and gives away mp3s) ?

    • jwz says:

      That trick doesn't work unless you can prove (in the sense of ``spend the money to defend against the inevitable lawsuit'') that you have never played music by any RIAA/ASCAP/BMI-controlled artist.

      • okay... i wasn't able to follow a good percentage of that article, but you're saying you now can't even webcast things you've been given -permission- to webcast? like, i obviously own the rights to all of my music; i can't just tell you to play it because the existence of your webcast makes it possible that you've played RIAA artists???

        if so, i'm going to start filing claims against clearchannel claiming that they owe me money for playing my music.

        beyond that, can i even broadcast my own work?? if we played the DNA again, and gave you express permission to broadcast us, could you?

        • jwz says:

          If you gave me permission, for songs you own the copyright on, to leave them up on my site forever, allow random access, etc., then that would be no problem, for your songs. Were I to go through and divide up the archives by song, and arrange for yours to be the only ones that didn't expire.

          But, ASCAP and RIAA hit me with bills. If I don't pay them, I'll get a nastygram from their lawyer. If I claim "but the only songs on my webcast are non-ASCAP/RIAA controlled!" (which in my case isn't true anyway) then they will say "ok, prove it." But of course they will "say" this in the form of a lawsuit, which costs money to defend even if you win.

          I can't find it now, but I'm pretty sure ASCAP used to even have an entry in their FAQ that said, "but what if I only play non-ASCAP music?" to which their answer was, "we control so much that that's basically impossible, so pay the hell up."

          So it doesn't matter that some of the music we play is not ASCAP/RIAA-controlled: if any of it is, then the devil demands his tribute.

          But anyway, webcasting a live performance is a different matter than a DJ playing a CD; for live performances, we always get permission directly from the bands/labels. (In that case, it's easy, since we're already directly contracted to them for the show: we're already talking to the right people. It's not practical to do that for every record label that every DJ might play part of a track from.)