[icecast] legalities of streaming

Chris G Moguta chrisg1 at umbc.edu
Thu Jun 12 01:33:08 UTC 2003

Basically, to legally broadcast music you must:

A) Obtain permissions from the copyright holder (usually the publisher, record 
label) of the *composition*.  ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC offer compulsory licenses 
for all of the artists they represent, fees based upon roughly how many 
listeners your station has & how many songs in your broadcast are by 
artists/composers they represent.

B) Obtain permissions from the copyright holder of the particular *recording* 
of the composition you want to play.  SoundExchange (a division of the RIAA) 
offers a compulsory license at .07 cents per song per listener, for every song 
you play.  There *was* a deal for an alternative percent of revenue royalty, 
but the legislation authorizing this had a sunset clause of December 2002.

C) Switch your Internet connection to one where servers are allowed, typically 
business connections.

D) Pay royalties for using MP3 technology in your stream, or WMA, AAC, etc.  
Ogg Vorbis is great here, since there are no royalties to pay.

If any music you wish to play is not represented by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and 
their overseas performance right organizations (or if you don't want to go 
with the compulsory licensing), then you must negotiate directly with the 
publishers for rights to broadcast their music.  The publishers have every 
right to blow you off & not even *consider* licensing their music to you.

RIAA/SoundExchange compulsory licensing covers even non-members (supposedly), 
though RIAA-members recieve 19 times the amount of royalties directed to 
non-members.  (SoundExchange admits it on their site.)

Compulsory licensing is financial death for anyone without a significant sum 
of money.  Direct negotiation as an alternative is just painful, though, 
especially when many will refer you BACK TO THEIR REPRESENTING ORGANIZATION 
(i.e. ASCAP).

>===== Original Message From Mark Lehrer <mark at knm.org> =====
>> What are the current legalities in relation to non commercial music
>> streams, or more accurately put non profit streams, and is this
>> currently being seriously policed?
>Yes it is being seriously policed.  This is controlled by copyright
>law; there are three companies that basically control all music
>copyrights; ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.  From what I understand, you will
>need a "compulsory" license from each, and they now have additional
>royalty payments and reporting requirements for the songs you play.
>jwz had a good write-up of this (before the big royalty agreement
>though).  It's a must-read:
>The only way I have found around this is to play music that is
>"legally tradeable", e.g. live phish, dead, metallica, etc who allow
>you to share electronic copies.  If you use their music this way, then
>there can be no revenue of any kind; even a banner ad will get you in
>It's painful.  Basically it is designed to keep the hobbyists out.
>Copyrights should be a lot shorter, and should never be allowed to be
>owned by a corporation... works for hire should have different, and
>even shorter, terms.

--- >8 ----
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