Legislation Seeks Compensation on Radio-Based Downloads

New radio platforms are rapidly gaining strength, though time-shifting and storage capabilities are generating major concerns.

While consumers are increasingly opting for on-demand models, groups like the RIAA have been pushing for compensation on technologies that allow consumers to locate and store specific songs within streamed broadcasts. Now, a new piece of legislation has surfaced on Capitol Hill that addresses those concerns, specifically as they relate to satellite, internet, and cable-based radio formats.

The freshly-introduced Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2006, or PERFORM, is being backed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “I want new services to continue to be made available on different platforms,” said Graham. “But the rules need to be fair for everyone.” Specific compensation amounts were not outlined, though a release from the office of Dianne Feinstein noted that “all cable, satellite, and internet companies should be subject to the same rates,” defined by “fair market value”.

Additionally, the legislation will attempt to distinguish between different types of time-shifting. For example, the time-shifting of certain program blocks would be permissible, while the recording and “disaggregation” of specific tracks into a collection would require payment. “For example, if a listener chooses to automatically record a news station every morning at 9:00; a jazz station every afternoon at 2:00; a blues station every Friday at 3:00; and a talk radio show every Saturday at 4:00; that would be allowable. In addition, that listener could then use their recording device to move these programs so that each program of the same genre are back-to-back,” the office clarified. “What a listener cannot do is set a recording device to find all the Frank Sinatra songs being played on the radio-service and only record those songs”.