An Alabama radio station recently received a notice about the new royalty rates that are payable to ReSound, the Canadian equivalent of SoundExchange, a collective set up to receive from webcasters royalties for the public performance of sound recordings and to distribute those royalties to the copyright holders (usually the labels) and the artists who recorded the songs, according to a story in today’s issue of Tom Taylor Now (a radio industry newsletter).  Tom asked me why would a radio station in Alabama get this notice – shouldn’t their payments to SoundExchange take care of the royalties that they owe for their streaming?  In fact, webcasters receiving these notices do need to consider their practices.

The general principle in the Internet world is that a webcaster is liable for paying music royalties for listeners where the listener is located – not where the transmitting entity may be located.  The same principle applies to rights to video and other content made available through the Internet – which is why your US HBO Go or Netflix subscription may not work the next time you visit London or Tokyo and try to watch a movie on your computer in your hotel room.  Rights are usually granted country by country (or sometimes by region), but in many cases rights granted in one country don’t give the Internet service acquiring those rights permission to circulate the content worldwide.  Thus, many large webcasters block their streams outside the US – notably webcasters like Pandora, who pulled their non-US streams back in 2007 (see our article here that we wrote when they took that action, which reminds me how long I have been writing this blog!). 
Continue Reading Why is a US Radio Station Getting a Notice about Webcasting Royalties in Canada? – Why Webcasters Geo-Block Their Streams to Avoid International Music Royalties