P2P Radio?

There’s an article over at the Inquirer which suggests that all P2Pers need to do is essentially turn themselves into Internet radio stations, with individualized channels that the user would control.

Does this work legally? Not at all.

The Fatal Flaw

To keep this very, very simple, the laws governing internet radio stations eligible for the compulsory license (and that .07 cents per recording rate) prohibit the level of interactivity proposed. While a little interactivity (i.e. song requests to a radio station) is OK, complete interactivity (deciding each and every song) is not.

You can read a somewhat readable legal discussion of this issue here

What that would mean to that “radio station” is that it couldn’t claim the right to pay .07 cents per song, but would have to negotiate a voluntary agreement with the RIAA as to the rates. RIAA could simply say “No,” and even if they were miraculously agreeable, they would no doubt demand a far, far higher rate.

Even if this provision of the law were changed, there are other provisions that would knock such a radio station out of a compulsory license. For instance, there is a requirement called the “sound recording performance complement.” This is a requirement that you can’t play a whole lot of songs from an album or artist within a short period of time.

So, before this becomes an urban legend, this just doesn’t fly under current law.

P.S. Anyone who says, “The RIAA is one of the most evil organizations on the planet,” then says they are worse than the North Korean prison regime has no concept of evil nor North Korea. Calling the RIAA worse than the North Korean prison regime, where torture, starvation, sexual assault and murder, including baby killing (and there are many, many other links you can find with a simple search), is grossly ignorant and offensive to anyone who does have a clue.


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