Looks like college radio stations may be the next in line to be Digital Millennium Copyright Act victims.
See the Salon article, Why college radio fears the DMCA, by By Mark L. Shahinian.
Under the terms of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), radio stations around the country are supposed to pay thousands of dollars in annual fees to broadcast streaming audio over the Web. Managers of college and community stations say while their commercial counterparts may be able to pay the fees, their stations don't have the cash and will shut down their webcasts.
The 1998 law came up on Capitol Hill Thursday, as members of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property held an oversight hearing on how temporary copies stored on computers should be counted when calculating copyright fees.
The hearing, said congressional staffers, was an early skirmish in a battle to defang the DMCA and transfer power from record companies back to broadcasters.
Webcasting was once touted as an example of the Internet's leveling power -- it allows small local stations to reach Internet users all over the world. And college stations, which run tight budgets and eclectic playlists, fit the webcast bill perfectly. But record companies don't like webcasting, with its potential for copying and distributing unlimited digital copies of songs.
Under long-standing U.S. copyright law, broadcasters pay a coalition of songwriters' groups to air music over the Internet and the airwaves. But until the DMCA, performers and record companies did not have the rights to royalties when stations played their music. As part of the 1998 law, Congress allowed performers and record companies to start collecting fees on songs sent over the web, said Joel Willer, a mass communications professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. There are still no performer fees for regular airwave broadcasts.
But until now, the law has yet to be fully enforced. If it is, college radio on the Web will be in trouble.Posted by Lisa at December 13, 2001 04:35 PM | TrackBack