In 1998, President Bill Clinton passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA, was signed into law. It was signed to keep up with the changes of digital media innovations, and it protects copyrighted material that is accessible on the Internet. How does this law affect Internet radio? It limits radio stations online from copyright infringement and streaming music without paying royalties and licensing fees. This law created a lot of controversy between traditional radio station and radio stations on the Internet. In recent news, the controversy is shedding light again in Congress.
President Obama is now discussing royalty laws with Congress about traditional radio stations. In the current DMCA law, only radio online has to pay a royalty to performers in addition to the songwriter. They have to pay publishing and performance royalties. Currently, traditional radio stations only pay the publishing royalty which is paid to the songwriter and not the singer. Recent headlines in the news now report that the Obama administration is endorsing that radio stations must now pay performance royalties as well.
Record labels and recording artists miss out on money and recognition that is respectably theirs. Internet radio stations and other countries in the world pay the royalties to performers for their hard work to create amazing music and performances. Traditional radio stations in the United States are one of the only institutions that do not pay a royalty to the performer. The DMCA is unfair, and recording artists feel as if they are not being protected under the current copyright law.
Once again there is controversy between broadcasters, radio stations, and artists. A lot of famous musicians whose music is played on Internet Radio and traditional radio have been to Capitol Hill to support the passing of new copyright laws for traditional radio. Broadcasters believe that by passing the new royalty law jobs will be lost and record labels outside of the United States will gain high profits. The National Broadcasters Association believes they should not have to pay the royalty that Internet radio pays because by playing a band’s music they are encouraging listeners to buy their albums.
It is still unclear whether or not this issue will be brought into legislation this year or not. The Obama administration is simply stating that they endorse the performance royalties. Radio stations on the Internet and traditional radio stations play the same music and it is unfair that the Internet has to pay an additional fee. There should be fairness across the board and musicians should be able to collect for their talents.
About the Author: Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.