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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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June 15, 2005

Rush Limbaugh: Copyfighter?

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Posted by Jason Schultz

Looks like Rush Limbaugh is a copyfighter at heart. Check out his rant yesterday about the restrictions on podcasting and CD copying:

RUSH: There are some things that we can't influence yet [in podcasting] like music because of copyright problems. I continue to hear from people. I guess this is just a testament you have to explain things a number of times. I continue to hear from people, "Well, other shows..."

I read that and I say, "Pfft. What other shows?"

"Other shows have music."

Uh, I don't know what to tell you, folks. We have a battery of attorneys here, and the battery of attorneys has dug deep, and they've given us their opinion on this and it's pretty deadlocked solid. There's nothing we can do about it because of the fact that if we included music, even snippets, that we would be effectively be distributing other people's property, copyrighted property without compensation. It's just that simple. Now some of you have said, "Well, now, if we download stream every day if we listen to the program live on the Internet we get the music there."


So here's what I did because I continue to get so much e-mail about music and the podcasts. I went to some of my partners and I said, "I want you to shoot me straight. Is this really a legal opinion or are you just telling me this because it's cheaper?" You know, I don't care. If it offends them it offends them. "I want to know the truth. Is this really the truth or are you just doing this because it's cheaper to do it this way?"

They were righteously indignant and offended and they said, "No, it has nothing to do with that. The cost is prohibitive." I mean there's no system set up for this kind of thing yet. We're away ahead of the curve to do this legally. I can't explain the people that are doing it in a way that we have been told is illegal, and I can't explain why they're doing it, and the fact that they are doing it does not give us the confidence that we could do it ourselves. We have a big legal team that's looked into this.

But I just want to tell you we're continually working on it, which at this point simply means monitoring developments in this whole copyright and piracy law. I know the Millennium Copyright Act is what this is all about, and until that's changed, none of this is going to change. In fact I just saw a story in my RSS reader today that Sony is coming out with a new system to copy-protect their CDs. There's software on their CDs that will allow a maximum of three dubs, three copies, and then it shuts down. So if somebody goes and buy a CD, they can copy it three times, but that's it and it's not on all their CDs. It's a new technology that they are embedding in the CDs, and of course the DVD industry has gotten even much tougher than the music industry has, but it's a huge deal and we have looked at it in every which way and that's what we have been told by the legal eagles. Whatever anybody else is doing out there is of no consequence to us. Based on what we have learned anybody else doing this is doing so at risk, and that's as much as I will say about it.

For background, see Ernie Miller's Rush Limbaugh to Launch Podcast on June 3rd - No Music Though.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Abuse


1. KJ on June 15, 2005 10:21 PM writes...

Hey, there are all kinds of verbs in dialogue to use when quoting someone. These include "said" and "remarked" and "commented" just to name three out of thousands. Perhaps try one, instead of going with the usual cliche that any word Rush ever speaks is a "rant." Thanks!

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2. Clancy on June 15, 2005 10:34 PM writes...

Heh, well, not surprising given his history with that Pretenders song.

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3. kj on June 15, 2005 11:00 PM writes...

That's not a "history." It's links to the song. Here's the final word from a quick nexis. The money does go to an animal charity. Not sure what history you're refering to. Someone has no problem with you using it, you use it. They change their mind because of pressure and ask you not to, you don't. They ask you to pay for using their intellectual property, you do it.Copyright 1999 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada)
August 30, 1999 Monday Final Edition


Chrissie Hynde has reached a compromise with Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh has used the Pretenders song My City Was Gone as his theme song since 1984.

Recently he dropped it after Hynde apparently decided after all these years she had a problem with it.

Hynde found out she and Limbaugh actually have something in common: a love for animals.

She suggested the royalties he pays for the song be donated to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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4. Brad Hutchings on June 17, 2005 6:34 AM writes...

Phil Hendrie mentioned similar problems the other evening. He has had to strip music clips out of his archived shows because there is no licensing mechanism for them on the web. Somehow, I have a feeling that Clear Channel and Premiere distributed a memo and Rush is embellishing his actual contact with the team of lawyers so that they seem slightly more significant than the team of lawyers he has fighting the State of Florida for his right not to have his pill habit compared in a spreadsheet against Noel Bush's. If he really needed a legal opinion, he could call up C-Thom (the Supreme who administered his last wedding) and get an opinion, no? But I digress....

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