[icecast] DMCA and webcasting

Sean /The RIMBoy/ sean at rimboy.com
Thu Sep 13 15:55:03 UTC 2001

On Thu, 13 Sep 2001, Jack Moffitt wrote:

> > ==================================================================
> > hey josh,
> > i talked to [faculty advisor] today and was told we must stop our online
> > streaming.  reasons for this rash decision involve around a new law that
> > was put in place over the summer saying that stations who broadcast online
> > have to pay royalties, but the amount to be paid has yet to be specified.
> First off the DMCA was enacted in 1998.  I believe you are also exempt
> for it if you also broadcast over-the-air.  _That_ part might have
> changed, as certainly the RIAA will be after money from traditional
> labels.

Everything that I've come across and it is my understanding is that
traditional radio stations are not exempt if they broadcast via the
web.  In short, the RIAA and the labels it represents are greedy
individuals and will take their money whereever they can get it.  If the
money is green they want it.

I believe it is AFTRA that has raised a stink about webcasting
commercials, many stations have either pulled their webcasts or have
silenced their webcasts when AFTRA artists provide the voice over.  This
in particular applies to national ads, ie for GM, IBM, or some other major
company w/ a nationwide push.  The point is that don't discount the RIAA
from broadcast stations w/ a web broadcast.

> A few months?  It's been going on for years, and no one is sure when it
> will end.  It's likely not to for a good long while still.  There was a
> wired article about the rates being discussed.  You might want to look
> that up.

In short, anyone broadcasting RIAA artists via the web are required to
register *NOW*.  They have yet to determine the rate / fee structure, but
failure to register because the rates are not in place is not an
excuse.  Plan on them making you pay pro-actively once the fees are
decided upon.  Failure to do so will put you in greater financial

> > Now, from my inderstanding the the DMCA and recent events, it is possible
> > that we will be made to pay some royalties to the record labels.  However,
> > we are a very small radio station with a very small webcasting audiance.  We
> > don't pay any royalties to broadcast over the air.  
> Then in other words, you're stealing music even for your online
> broadcast.  You _must_ pay ASCAP, BMI, and/or SESAC in order to
> broadcast _anything_ over _any_ medium.  If you're not paying that, then
> you are in dangerous trouble of litigation from those companies.  They
> can and will go after you.  hell, they sued the girl scouts and won for
> them singing around campfires.

It depends.  That was my initial reaction, however upon giving it some
thought, it already might be covered by the University
license.  Definately consult with the University lawyers and make sure
that your ASCAP/BMI/SESAC agreement covers your college station.  As I
recall, our station was covered under the University's agreement, but then
again we already had an NPR affiliated Jazz station on campus before our
student run station went on the air.  

> DMCA royalties go straight to the fucking big five labels.  Artists will
> probably never see this money.

Agreed.  And the artists are already taking it up the ass with the sales
of CD's.  

>  This is basically the same type of license 
> as if you would be pressing and selling CDs.  This is quite simply an
> internet tax.

I've never looked at it that way, but tis true.  An Internet tax that
lines the pockets of massive corportate conglomerates who only care about
their stock options.  

>  On the air stations don't have to deal with the DMCA and, at
> least to my knowledge, do they have to deal with it  even when they
> broadcast online.

Again, I'm not sure.  I'd imagine the RIAA is going to cover their bases
on this one.  They've been pissed off long enough that they've been unable
to obtain money from the broadcast stations (ruling long ago) and this is
their way (IMO) of getting back.

> Technology royalties for MP3 (if you are using that and not Vorbis), are
> $15k a year minimum and some percent of revenue if your station
> generates revenue (do you sell ads?).

Generally charters of college stations cannot sell ads.  YMMV.  However,
mp3 streaming is going to die once Thompson and Fraunhoffer start bullying

> Sounds like you are in a bad position, as you're not paying the correct
> royalties anyway, and if you push the situation, they are likely to just
> shut it all off.  Explain the royalty situation. Show him jwz's page on
> broadcasting.

I agree, make sure you cover all the bases and definately take a look at
jwz's page.  

Again, it has been my experience that most Universities pick up the tab on
on the PRO's, I don't ever remember our station management having a
discussion regarding budgeting for the PRO's (I was a PD at one
time).  YMMV, IANAL, Drive Safely.  


www.rimboy.com		<-- Your source for the crap you know you need.

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