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Music Media

Copyright Office Proposes Webcasting Regs 298

Posted by michael
from the muzak-for-everyone dept.
deadsquid writes: "Streaming to a desktop near you, the death knell of online radio stations. Continuing to pave the money trail the RIAA and others claim to be theirs and theirs alone, the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel has released their ideas on what webcasters should pay to re-broadcast copyrighted material over the Internet. A good summary can be found at the Radio and Internet Newsletter, which provides an outline of what hoops net broadcasters must jump through, in addition to what they must pay. To say the rates are ridiculous is an understatement, and the amount of information required from the broadcaster to the copyright holder is ludicrous. The cost of bandwidth and delivery is already high enough, and this ruling, if upheld, kinda removes any hope of surmounting operating costs and continuing on. " Webcasters will have to report a great deal of information about their listeners according to the reporting requirements that the Copyright Office has proposed.

I thought I'd just summarize briefly for people who don't follow these issues:

Copyright law gives the record companies the right to prevent others from making copies of "their" music, except in certain cases where there is a "compulsory license" written into the law. In these cases, the record companies can't prevent anyone from using "their" music, but there is a mandatory fee that they must get paid. This "compulsory license" scheme was meant to keep the music industry from taking over the radio industry by simply refusing to license their music to certain radio stations (ones that didn't play ball, naturally). The U.S. Copyright Office sets the fees and revises them occasionally.

So the same idea was applied to webcasting music. In theory, this keeps the record companies from eliminating all-but-one or all-but-a-couple of the webcasters - anyone can webcast, you just have to pay the fee. However, if the record industry has too much influence over the process, they might try things like getting "compulsory license" fees set very high, or making sure that the record-keeping requirements are so onerous that it's impossible to comply with them.

In effect, this eliminates the "compulsory license" - because it's economically infeasible to comply with it. Webcasters can still seek individual licenses from the record companies, but this gets back to the original problem - the record companies have no obligation to make life easy for the nascent webcaster.

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Copyright Office Proposes Webcasting Regs

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  • Absurd requirements (Score:5, Informative)

    by mochan_s (536939) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:34PM (#3041395)
    Requirements

    A) The name of the service
    B) The channel of the program (AM/FM stations use station id)
    C) The type of program (Archived/Looped/Live)
    D) Date of Transmission
    E) Time of Transmission
    F) Time zone of origination of Transmission
    G) Numeric designation of the place of the sound recording within the program
    H) Duration of transmission (to nearest second)
    I) Sound Recording Title
    J) The ISRC code of the recording
    K) The release year of the album per copyright notice and in the case of compilation albums, the release year of the album and copyright date of the track
    L) Featured recording artist
    M) Retail album title
    N) The recording Label
    O) The UPC code of the retail album
    P) The catalog number
    Q) The copyright owner information
    R) The musical genre of the channel or program (station format)

    Jeez. That's going to need new databases for radio stations.
    At least I don't have to call in to ask what song they were just playing. I'll even get the UPC code and the album name and copyright owner information right there.


    And a listener's log listing:
    1) The name of the service or entity
    2) The channel or program
    3) the date and time that the user logged in (the user's timezone)
    4) the date and time that the user logged out (the user's timezone)
    5) The time zone where the signal was received (user)
    6) Unique User identifier
    7) The country in which the user received the transmissions

    I'm sure they put on the unique user identifier in there just in case someone actually implemented all the others to comply.
  • Just an example (Score:5, Informative)

    by baka_boy (171146) <lennon&day-reynolds,com> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:40PM (#3041421) Homepage
    My old school had a campus radio station, and about 1200 students. Last I heard, they were considering an on-campus-only webcast of the radio broadcast (since the signal was to weak to reach many parts of campus, especially the many "basement" work and rec rooms). So, assuming even 10% listenership, and the cheapest licensing schedule (for non-CPB-funded "public" stations) their fees would look something like this:

    120 "listeners" * 18hr./day programming * 12 "performances"/hr. * $0.02/"performance" ==> $518.40/day.

    That's right, folks, a college radio station with just over a hundred listeners could reasonably pay over $500 per day just for the privilege of putting their broadcast on the web.

    Ain't (lobbyist-directed) beurocracy grand?
  • Re:BMI and stuff (Score:2, Informative)

    by Brian Knotts (855) <.bknotts. .at. .cascadeaccess.com.> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:47PM (#3041451)
    ASCAP and BMI collect royalties for music writers, not record companies.

    Radio stations pay these royalties. However, radio stations do not pay these RIAA fees that they are trying to collect from webcasters.

  • by Let's Kiosk (410813) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @09:51PM (#3041471)
    D'oh! I found it -- it was right at the top.

    I loved this little requirement, though:

    "ADDRESSES: An original and ten copies of any comment shall be delivered to: Office of the General Counsel, Copyright Office, James Madison Building, Room LM-403, First and Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC; or mailed to: Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP), P.O. Box 70977, Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024-0977.

    Whatever happened to triplicate?

  • by bugg_superstar (73615) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:13PM (#3041574) Homepage
    disclaimer: i edited the letter a bit for length. yes, i am a dj at the station. no, i'm not pimping us in any way ;-)

    So the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel released their recommendations for how radio stations should pay if they stream over the internet. the actual release is here (http://www.loc.gov/copyright/fedreg/2002/67fr5761 .pdf). Of course, it's a tough read, so I'll sum it up for you guys, and provide relevant links at the bottom. These rules are *proposed*, and haven't gone into effect yet.

    +per performance means "per song / per listener". That means every time one person hears one song, that's a performance. If 12 people listen to a webcast of 12 songs, that's 144 performances.

    +epheremal recording means a backup copy of the same song to be used for streaming.

    So according to these rules for webcasting, KBVR is a non-commercial broadcaster. We must pay $0.02 for every "performance". 9% of those performance fees will be added on as cost for an epheremal license fee.

    So yeah....doesn't sound too bad, does it? Just wait...

    Let's do a little math here. I'm assuming that 2.5% of the roughly 20,000 OSU students would listen to KBVR streaming over the internet. I don't even know the real number, so I'm just going to (hopefully) guess low. If any of you could give me better numbers, feel free.

    500 listeners x 24 hours/day x 10 "performances" an hour x $0.02 per "performance" ===> $2400 A DAY. That comes out to roughly $875,000 A YEAR if we could webcast under the new rules.

    For *each song* webcasted, KBVR would have to report the following information to the primary copyright holders (usually the record label, or to the individual band if you're cool like metallica and dr. dre):

    A) The name of the service
    B) The channel of the program (AM/FM stations use station ID)
    C) The type of program (archived/looped/live)
    D) Date of transmission
    E) Time of transmission
    F) Time zone of origination of transmission
    G) Numeric designation of the place of the sound recording within the program
    H) Duration of transmission (to nearest second)
    I) Sound recording title
    J) The ISRC code of the recording
    K) The release year of the album per copyright notice and in the case of compilation albums, the release year of the album and copyright date of the track
    L) Featured recording artist
    M) Retail album title
    N) The recording label
    O) The UPC code of the retail album
    P) The catalog number
    Q) The copyright owner information
    R) The musical genre of the channel or program (station format)

    That's for EACH SONG WEBCASTED.

    On top of that, we will have to provide the following information for *EVERY PERSON* who would listen to us over the internet:

    1) The name of the service or entity
    2) The channel or program
    3) The date and time that the user logged in (the user's timezone)
    4) The date and time that the user logged out (the user's timezone)
    5) The time zone where the signal was received (user)
    6) Unique user identifier
    7) The country in which the user received the transmissions

    These new proposed rules are pretty damn stupid. That's all I'm going to say.

    Thanks for your time...

    ~steve
  • by FakePlasticDubya (472427) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @10:18PM (#3041591) Homepage
    Yeah, except you also made the same mistake I did. When I first read it, I thought it was two cents per performance also. However, upon closer inspection, it's actually only two tenths of a cent. That is more doable for us non-commercial stations, but it still is lame how me have to 1) buy the CD, then 2) pay a license to broadcast it, now 3) pay another license fee to netcast.
  • Misinterpretation (Score:2, Informative)

    by dantonioJr (44459) on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @11:15PM (#3041872)
    The amount in the tables is 0.07 cents ($0.0007) and 0.14 ($0.0014) cents, not $0.07 and $0.14 as most posters read it. This doesn't necessarily invalidate all the comments about the expense, but it puts things in a bit different perspective.
  • by Krellan (107440) <krellan@NosPam.krellan.com> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @11:40PM (#3041992) Homepage Journal

    Well, that's it, folks. It's been nice having online radio while we could.

    With these new regs, it will be the death knell of webcasting. Expect Live365 to fold within a month once these new regs take effect. Nullsoft Shoutcast and Spinner will hold on a little longer, as they are subsidized by AOL, but it too will disappear. The smaller independent stations? *poof*, as another poster put it! Considering the new fees are retroactive to 1998, if I were an online broadcaster, I'd be scrambling to dismantle my setup before they find me and send me the bill!

    A shame this has to happen just when SSM [ietf.org], Source-Specific Multicast, was getting off the ground. Finally, an almost complete rearchitecturing of the failed Internet Multicast protocol. It addresses the two primary shortcomings of existing multicast -- address shortage and DoS attacks -- and looks like it actually could have worked.

    To anyone who's watched developments in online radio technology, SSM [cisco.com] is like nirvana. The Class D multicast address shortage is solved, by effectively using 64-bit addresses: a station's existing unicast IP address is simply concatenated with a multicast address in SSM's address range (232.x.x.x, equivalent to a big fat Class A!). And there's no central authority to go through, the station just simply chooses one of these address! This effectively gives the station the capability for 16 million channels (different SSM trees of listeners).

    That's right, it's finally a tree! The many-to-many multicast model has been replaced with one-to-many. Formerly, a rogue client could simply inject data into the stream, and that data would be replicated to all other listeners. Not good. Since SSM is a tree, with the originating station at the root, this problem is solved. It will become much more difficult to "jam" a SSM station (a router close to the source would have to be hacked). With these two main problems solved, Internet multicasting would finally be good to go...!

    It would have been a wonderful thing, had these new rules not been enacted. This new SSM protocol might have taken off, helping to alleviate the enourmous waste of bandwidth caused by having to repeatedly unicast the same stream to each individual listener.

    Possibly the only good thing that can come out of this is more exposure for unsigned garage bands. If SSM helps to reduce the bandwidth cost of streaming, and the garage band owns their own copyrights (not a member of ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/RIAA), then it might be affordable for them to broadcast online....

  • Viva La Revolution! (Score:1, Informative)

    by kiwipeso (467618) <andrew.mc@paradise.net.nz> on Wednesday February 20, 2002 @11:45PM (#3042054) Homepage Journal
    Friends, Slashdotters and Linux Geeks.
    The First amendment of the US constitution grants you the right to free speech.
    The DCMA is unconstitutional and should be ignored by every american citizen who wants the American Way to mean something.

    You have the right to a free press, so why not stand up for your right to broadcast information you paid for?
    The RIAA must be made a mockery, in the way they make a mockery of your constitution.
    If you want to buy a CD, download it first or listen to it at the record store.
    Don't listen to the radio stations, why should you have to suffer ads for crap you don't buy and DJs who talk while the song is playing?

    A terrorist does things to get america to pass laws to make america as bad as the terrorist, do you follow the stupid laws or the american way?
    And why should you not regard the RIAA as the same kind of threat to your rights?

"Gotcha, you snot-necked weenies!" -- Post Bros. Comics

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