I was recently interviewed by Steve Goldstein of Amplifi Media, a firm that consults for podcast companies, on the difficulties with the use of music in podcasts. That interview has been turned into an article on Steve’s blog, here, discussing these legal issues. That article discusses the same issues that we’ve written about here several times, reminding readers that the standard music licenses that they get for the public performance of music on their radio stations or webcast channels don’t cover podcasts (see, for instance, our articles here and here). ASCAP, BMI, SESAC cover the public performance of musical compositions, while SoundExchange covers the public performance of sound recordings by noninteractive digital music services.
Podcasts, however, are not considered public performances. By their very nature, podcasts are meant to be downloaded, which implicates other rights under copyright law. These additional rights include the rights to make reproductions and distributions of the compositions and sound recordings, and to synchronize them with the words and other content of the podcast. To get these additional rights, music users typically are required to get permission from the artists and composers (or their record labels and publishers). This article should serve as yet another reminder to broadcasters that making their content available on-demand, where that content features recorded music, usually can’t be done under their standard music license agreements. Check out Steve’s article, and the other articles on this blog, for more information about this reminder.