|update on recent webcasting ruling :
more on the webcasting crisis
one teeeeeeny little point... although the fmu site states (correctly) that radio broadcasters in the US don't pay performance royalties to owners of sound recordings (eg labels and performers), radio stations DO pay those royalties everywhere else in the (copyright respecting) world...it's an historical anomaly that the radio stations here escaped paying them. to put it in a more artist friendly light, if a radio station plays a record of stevie wonder singing god bless america 1 million times there is no way for him to charge them...a tv network would have to pay stevie, a movie would have to pay stevie, a restaurant would have to pay stevie, now a website would have to pay stevie, a radio station in canada or mexico would have to pay stevie...but the radio station here gets it free... [please note that i am not an apologist for the labels on this issue, kind of the opposite, but facts is facts]
I think the issue is, should a not-for-profit corporation have to pay Stevie, before Stevie is Stevie and is just an up-and-coming talent with a harmonica? WFMU (and countless basement webcasters) aren't playing in the same ball park as the "music biz"--but they're weak relative to that biz, so of course they must be destroyed...
npr has struck an agreement (the terms of which no one will disclose) that will allow them to continue webcasting. there are no provisions to allow small not for profit radio stations to continue webcasting which in the case of wfmu has been a substantial growth sector in the last couple of years.
Hopefully technology like this will soon reshape the discussion. This is the same principle as the ad hoc mesh network stuff I keep talking about. Instead of every listener being only a listener (with everyone drawing a stream from the same server,) each listener is also a retransmitter. So the initial station just serves the stream to a few people who listen while rebroadcasting the stream to a few other people, etc...