The End of (Radio) Days?

An article by Rob Hyndman talks about the future, or lack of a future, that traditional commercial radio has. I am yet another example of someone who previously listened to radio, but currently do not have the time. I sometimes listen to specific CBC shows, but even though I listen to more audio today than I did 5 years ago, it is all in the form of MP3 files downloaded (legally!) from the Internet.

What I listen to are audio blogs such as Cory Doctorow's Podcast, 2600 Magazine's Off the Wall and Off the Hook, Lulabot Drupal Podcast, The Parliament Hillbillies in Ottawa, and others.

I added the following as a comment to Rob's BLOG:

Might I suggest that people not only get involved with the existing CRTC process, but also write letters to their federal members of parliament. They need to hear from you as they have forgotten history.

History is repeating itself over and over again. A hundred years ago songwriters wanted the right to require permission before anyone could record music, and they clearly stated that this was "theft". They then clearly indicated that they would never grant permission as they didn't understand the business model.

Does anyone today seriously believe that recorded music was bad for songwriters? Does anyone seriously believe that radio was bad for songwriters, performers, and makers of recordings? Does anyone think it was wrong for various governments to step in and remove this control by the incumbent industry on the future of music, something that was done to legalize performances, recordings and radio?

What we knew of as radio was only possible by revoking the control that past copyright holders had.

Does anyone, other than the current incumbent industry (IE: yesterday's recording industry and broadcast radio -- the "pirates" of the past), really believe that the situation today is any different? Does anyone believe that they should be given more control? Do they agree with many of us that the government should step in -- as it has always done in the past -- and revoke the control the incumbents have in order to allow for progress? It is time to create a statutory license for recorded music that applies to the Internet, and to revoke copyright on "broadcasting" entirely (there is no rational need for broadcasters to have their own copyright).

It's time to stand up and tell the legacy recording industry and broadcasters to simply "step aside" and allow for the better future for creativity and audiences that new communications technologies have always brought us.

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I worked at a campus radio

I worked at a campus radio station for a short time. I did a couple of on-air shows where I assembled the entire playlist. I played anything and everything I felt like. I recall having asked the station manager if there were any restrictions (I was worried about copyright complaints from me playing album tracks off my own CDs). He said as long as I respected the CanCon quota and didn't play anything highly offensive (with f-, n-, s- words, etc), then I could essentially play whatever I wanted.

I was blown away. I asked him how this was possible? If I wanted to play lesser known songs from Smashing Pumpkins albums on every show, I COULD? I didn't understand why I was "free" from copyright issues. Basically the way it was explained (and I hardly believe it to this day) is that the station basically purchased a blanket copyright. They just pay $X per year and get the right to play whatever they want. I never understood how this got the bucks to the artists? How was the CRIA happy with that, yet there was NO WAY that the ransom the station paid every year would even reach HALF the artists that the station played (being foreign and otherwise).

I seriously wonder if you couldn't construct something similar for consumers? Pay $X/year for legal right to say f-off to the RIAA. Of course I still prefer the current model of paying $0/year and getting all the same stuff anyway :-) But of course that is not sustainable.

The question is how to get our cash to the right people? I do want my bucks going to Billy Corgan, and not to Virgin Records. That's why I love the live-concert revenue model. You'll always have live performances, that's not going to change cause you can't totally replace the intangible value of actually "being there." Notice also how movie theatres are still around??

Though I used to get into MSN arguments with roomates in the next room, we're still human, and we still meet in the kitchen. :-)

P2P is like radio?

I'm curious what you think about the reply to the high school student about P2P.

If we were to follow the hundreds of years of precedent in how we resolve technology conflicts in copyright law we would simply be extending the existing statutory licensing regime (what made Radio simple/possible) to non-commercial P2P of audio/video works and be done with it.

For music there would be a few sentences that need minor editing in the current copyright act to clarify this situation, largely relating to the timing of "communication to the public by telecommunications" (IE: to allow it to happen at a time chosen by the recipient -- on-demand or P2P), and a clarification of the Private Copying regime to clarify that a copy is still a private copy if it is non-commercially "communicated to the public" (shared).

For Videos there would need to be a new regime as television is more messy than radio, but there is clearly a need to go beyond the regime that legalized cable television (and their massive "piracy") to a system that would legalize and monetize non-commercial video sharing.

For other types of works I don't believe that blanket licensing would be helpful, and would just perpetuate the current monopolies. I'm not generally a fan of blanket licensing, but whatever problems exist with P2P also exist for radio and television so are not at all new problems. If P2P needs to be shut down it is for the same reasons that radio and television should be shut down.

So -- who wants to try to find a politician willing to outlaw radio and television broadcasts that don't have permission of the copyright holders?

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.