[Icecast] Legal issues for non-profit radio stations.

Michael Hobbs mhobbs812 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 18 13:08:16 UTC 2005

Hi All,

Some time ago I emailed this list and mentioned (as well as a couple of
techinical queries) that I was trying to contact the PRS for information on
the copyright licencing requirements of a non-profit on-line radio station,
a few people expressed interest in this and asked I keep them updated. Well
I just sent my third email (transcript below) informing them that I will
assume a further lack of response as permission from them to play whatever.

Reassuringly I found this on their website under the heading of "What
happens if I do not take out a licence?"
If a person is using copyright music and does not apply for a the relevant
MCPS or PRS licence, the Society in most cases will take all reasonable
steps to ensure that the user is fully aware of their legal obligations and
allow them time to obtain a licence before considering legal action, but
this will depend on the circumstances. If, however, that person still
refuses to comply, the Societies will apply for an injunction to prevent
them from using any copyright Alliance repertoire until they take out a

So basically that reads, to me, that if you don't have a licence and they
find out, they'll merely ask you to get one!

Anyway, keep up all the great work, Cheers,

Mike Hobbs (Biz)

transcript follows:

Hi there,

I am currently in the development stage of setting up an Internet
radio station. I expect it to be ready this month, assuming everything
goes to plan.

Presumably I will need one of your licences to be sure this is legal -
but I will not be hosting adverts on either the radio station or
website as this is a strictly non-profit venture. As I understand, you
generate your revenue based on a percentage of the licensee's
revenue,of which there will be none, where does this leave me in terms
of getting a licence?

I quote from your website
"The MCPS-PRS Alliance Joint Online Licence (JOL) was launched in 2002
and since then over 100 music service providers have signed up to its
terms. Licensees are able to operate a number of business models under
the one licence at a rate of 8% of revenues (discounted from 12% to
help the growth of the legal online music market)"

On another note, most of the records played will not be from major
record labels (i.e. Virgin, EMI) rather small labels such as low-life.
I am happy to support them, how can I be sure my licence fee is
actually going to these labels, or do you only cover a limited number
of record labels?

As this is the third time I am emailing you and I have still not
recieved any reply I will interpret a further lack of response as
permission from the MCPS-PRS to play music freely from my on-line
radio station.
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