The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society and the Performing Right Society in the UK has recently launched a licensing scheme for music podcasters.
The license will allow podcasters to include music from over 10,000 artists to be included in their podcasts. They do this by granting both the writer and publisher permissions that is necessary. (Most songs have two sets of rights vested in them. The rights in creating or writing a song, as well as the actual performance).
"The royalty rate for the scheme will be the greater of 12 per cent of gross revenue or the minimum fee per track downloaded as part of the podcast: full-track 1.5p; half-track (less than 50 per cent by duration) 0.75p."
I take that to mean that if you charge £10 for your podcast you would have to pay £1.20 in royalties. Or if you had 20 full tracks in this podcast, it would be 30p (1.5p * 20). So in this instance the £1.20 still would apply. If it was free podcast you would have to pay 30p.
If the fee you charge is small, say £1 then this amountum amount you would pay in royalties would be 12p. This an equivalent of 8 full tracks if your podcast is free.
Thus free podcasts will be hit by a very small licensing fee.
Under the scheme, where podcasters do not use digital rights management technology on their podcasts, they will have to comply with certain conditions.
They will be required to:
* obscure at least 10 seconds at the beginning and end of each individual track played in a podcast with speech or a station ID;
An annoyance since some music editing software would be required.
* deliver podcasts only in their entirety, not individual tracks or portions of a podcast;
Again, podcasters would stitchto stich the casts together using editing software.
* ensure that music constitutes no more than 80 per cent of the total length of any programme;
Verbal diarrhea encouraged then. Hopefully podcasters will ad this to the beginning or end of their sets.
* ensure that the podcast is at least 15 minutes in length; and
* take all reasonable steps to ensure that individual tracks within a podcast are not capable of being ripped and that metadata or other information or data transmitted or downloaded by the podcaster is not used to identify recordings for download from unauthorised databases or sites.
I presume that if the podcast is saved as one long audiofile all the individual tracks meta data will be lost anyway.
So not quite the free digital utopia. But a huge step in the right direction none the less. There are more general conditions.
All Podcasters will also be obliged not to:
* produce podcasts that contain recordings from a single artist or that have more than 30 per cent of the musical works written by the same composer or writing partnership;
* play any individual track more than once in any single programme;
* provide an electronic guide to the podcast which contains tracks played and corresponding times;
This is very annoying and stupid to boot, I can understand them wanting the time ommited - it makes it easy for pirates to find tracks and rip them; BUT track listings are very useful, especially if you want to search to buy a track or album. I cant remember the number of times I have listened to the BBC's Blue Room, copied and pasted the song info into Amazon and ordered an album.
* insert any flags or other markers in the podcast which may directly indicate or which may be used to indirectly infer the start and end point of tracks or segments of copyright content;
* incorporate repertoire works into advertising; or
* use the repertoire in such a way as may be taken to imply that any goods or services are endorsed, advertised or associated with the repertoire or any artist whose performance is contained on the repertoire or any other party who owns rights in connection with the repertoire.
Further cover is provided for podcasts that generate low levels of revenue and usage, by incorporating the medium into an update of its Limited Online Exploitation Licence (LOEL) - due to be launched in the second quarter of 2006. Royalty rates begin from £50 a quarter.
Apparently non-music podcasts (e.g. predominantly speech with very little music) will be licensed under a new on-demand scheme for non-music services which is being prepared for launch at the end of April 2006.
Lets hope there will also follow more sensible online download and streaming licenses for Film producers (especially documentary makers) that include copyrighted archive footage into their work. Sphere: Related Content