Jan 14, 2006

Taping the radio

"We've got to find a way to harmonize this so it's rational," said Mitch Bainwol, the RIAA's chief executive officer. "There are going to be new technologies that are great for fans, and great for the entire music world, but they're all operating on different platforms, and all operating on different rule sets."

Exactly. That's why major record labels have no game left in em. This article does an excellent job of explaining in regular folks' terms the issue with the broadcast flag (basically DRM for radio so you can't record a song). You've always had the right to sit in your living room and record your favorite song off Casey Casem's best - it's established that this is a legal activity under the fair use exception in copyright law. Now, technology is catching up and you can record good copies and copies of whole shows from satellite radio and the labels are freaking out.

In some sense, the new digital technologies are simply rekindling one of the music industry's oldest debates, over how record labels should be compensated when their music is played over the air.

Congress has historically come down on the side of the broadcasters in this debate, saying that radio stations can play whatever music they want while paying only a relatively small amount of money to songwriters and publishers for the right to "perform" the song on-air--and not paying record companies at all.

It's a good time to reconsider the performance right. If broadcasters are forced to pay a royalty both to the songwriters and the performers who appear on recordings, a whole new revenue stream will flow to musicians/record labels, offsetting perceived losses from sales due to these fair use recordings. Most other countries have this type of royalty and the only reason the US doesn't is because the Broadcasters lobbyists are powerful and have been since lobbying began. A much better route than installing DRM all over the place, don't ya think?
(via CNet)

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