Pandora, Radio, and copyright laggards...

People in many countries reading an article by Nate Anderson in Ars Technica about radio vs netcasting may be confused by the statement that, "rightsholders have turned their eyes in recent years to commercial US radio, which currently pays songwriters (but not performers or record labels) for the tunes that power their business". In most countries all three music copyright holders (songwriters, performers and record labels) are paid for the broadcast of their music on radio. In fact, the requirement to remunerate performers and/or producers of the phonograms is article 12 of the Rome convention, a 1961 WIPO treaty that Canada acceded to in 1998.

The most relevant thing to note is that while 88 countries honor the Rome Convention, the United States is not one of those countries. It is also interesting to note that the controversial 1996 treaties have 70 countries honoring the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and 68 countries honoring the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). So -- who is the copyright laggard? While the 1996 treaties are controversial as they seem to harm the interests of both creators and audiences, few are critical of the parts of the Rome treaty which grant royalties to performers and makers.