Gov't Extends Webcaster License Offer to Dec 1, 1999

By Rich Menta- 11/03/99

Broadcasters and ham radio operators have had to do it for roughly a century. Now the US government, to protect both commercial and hobbyist webcasters from falling in violation of copyright law, is offering webcasters the opportunity to file for a statutory digital audio transmission license.

Webcasters have until Dec 1st 1999 to submit a $20 filing fee and notice of intent to file. Those who don't file could be forced to negotiate a separate license for their stations, essential because the statutory licence protects transmissions made prior to the filing date.

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This is important to hobbyist webcasters as it allows them a voice in a high stakes negotiation game with groups like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA is attempting to charge all webcasters a fee for music played on Internet sites. Hobbyists, who generally don't have the money to pay commercial fees, feel their webcasts pay for themselves by promoting the CD's of artists as traditional radio broadcasters do. The statutory license allows them to continue their webcasts legally until the arbitration hearings are held January of next year.

The Digital Media Association (DiMA), a trade group whose member companies include AOL, RealNetworks, CDNOW, and Emusic, are urging all webcasters to file by the Dec1st deadline. Talks between the DiMA and RIAA have stalled.

The group wants to mount a collective front in the arbitration. Without a collective front, earlier deals struck between individual webcasters and the RIAA could be looked upon as the basis for the "fair market price" of the statutory license, prices that are beyond the reach of hobbyists. Unfortunately, with recent aquisitions of member companies, the DiMA may be losing solidarity. The good news is that the RIAA may be open to the development of a separate hobbyist license as a concession of the negotiations.

If You Want to File

Webcasters who wish to submit their Initial Notice should send a $20 filing fee to:

Library of Congress,
Copyright Office Licensing Division
101 Independence Ave.
SE Washington,
DC 20557-6400.

Along with the following:

Initial Notice of Digital Transmissions of Sound Recordings Under Statutory License

In accordance with 37 CFR 201.35, the transmission service set forth herein files with the Library of Congress, Copyright Office, an initial notice stating the Service's intention to obtain a statutory license under Section 114(f) of Title 17 of the United States Code, as amended by Public Law 104-39, 109 Stat. 336, and Public Law 105-304, 112 Stat. 2860.

Name of Service:
Mailing Address:
(Note: A post office box is acceptable if it is the only address that can be used in that geographic location)
Telephone No.:
Facsimile No.:
Website Address of Service: http://
(Note: Information on how to gain access to the online website or home page of the Service, or where information may be posted under the regulations concerning the use of sound recordings must be provided).
Officer or Authorized Representative of Service:

Copyright 1999 MP3 Newswire. All rights reserved.

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