For Those Who Care: Royalties On Internet Broadcasts : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Snarfed this one from Slashdot; see for the actual proposal.

This is not only going to hurt independent Webcasters, many smaller (read: less-profitable) radio stations have stopped simulcasting their signals over the Web as well, primarily because of these fees.

Most people are completely unaware of this, but it has been true for years: when you hear a radio station play a copyrighted song, they have to pay for it.

-- Stephen M. Poole (, February 21, 2002


I typed that as I was headed out the door to work; this is one of those "for your info" things, for those who give a flip. As I said, most people aren't aware that licensing fees usually have to be paid for any public broadcast of a copyrighted work. These fees are collected by companies such as BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.

(I once engineered for a little talk station near Pinehurst, NC, that had literally ripped its turntables out of the control room so that BMI and ASCAP couldn't claim that they were playing music! Yes, these licensing companies are quite serious about their blood money ...)

They are a major source of revenue for songwriters, too -- which is why the smarter artists always write their own material whenever possible. That way, they don't just make royalties from CD and tape sales, but from licensing as well. :)

But I wonder how this will shake out in the future. This is more of that, "the Web is making changes that no one can predict" stuff. As more amatuer artists are able to get their material out over the Web, who knows how this will play out? I could not only mean the death of the giant, monolithic record companies and distributors, but the death of BMI and ASCAP as well.

Right now, the average user doesn't complain because he/she never sees the fees. (Likewise, when he/she listens to the radio, he/she is completely unaware that the station is paying for each play, like I said.) But small webcasters are either going to go out of business, or they'll find SOME way to recover these fees. If the average computer user has to start paying them, THAT'S when the stuff will hit the fan. :)

-- Stephen M. Poole (, February 21, 2002.

Something else along those lines... Businesses must also pay BMI, ASCAP and SESAC those royalties, even if they only play a radio in their store. Like everything else that cost is handed down to the customer but it's not a cost people associate with the price of their goods. Muzac is a cheaper alternative, which is why we hear it so often.

I would imagine before we see a direct charge to consumers the fees will be lumped in with ISP fees.

-- capnfun (, February 21, 2002.

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