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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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« The Day The Web (Radio) Went Silent - June 26, 2007 | Main | Microsoft, Virtualization, and... DRM? »

June 22, 2007

Clear Channel Are Scum-Sucking Bast... Oh, You Knew That

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

A couple years back I wrote a few bits about the rampant payola going on in corporate radio. Clear Channel was a major party in the scam and eventually pled out.

As part of the deal they are supposed to give free air time to independent artists, presumably to make up for these artists being shut out by the pay-for-play scheme. However, "free" is a word that Clear Channel doesn't seem to understand. In order for artists to get their submitted MP3s into consideration, they have to sign away all rights to the track. To Clear Channel. Forever.

According to the NPR story broadcast (the only coverage I could find on this) some artists are taking the deal with the devil, figuring that the loss of one song is nothing compared with the promised land of big riches that will come from exposure on the conglomerate's mass of broadcast stations. Others aren't so happy with the prospect.

Personally I don't understand how a performer could accept this. Imagine getting popular for a Clear Channel-played tune then having to explain at every performance that you can't play that song people know you for because you no longer own the rights to it. And it won't be on your forthcoming CD either...

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


COMMENTS

1. Crosbie Fitch on June 22, 2007 10:41 AM writes...

Maybe the artists have cottoned on to the fact that these 'rights' aren't worth the paper they're written on these days, like EULAs.

"You want all my rights? Sure. Have them. (Hyuk, hyuk...)"

Perhaps artists now realise that if even the cartel can't stop fans sharing songs, then even Clear Channel probably can't stop artists performing their own music (or that of anyone else) - except, of course, at CC gigs - which the artist probably considers no great loss anyway. And even then, CC would probably say "Well, ok, we'll forgive you. But, only if you promise to seek our permission in future, will we now organise a concert for you".

Duh. Like a piece of paper can stop me singing my own song? So sue me.

Permalink to Comment

2. Andrew on June 22, 2007 12:47 PM writes...

By waiving the right to receive royalties for performances on Clear Channel stations, artists and publishers are not ceding any ownership interest in the songs to CC. It doesn't prevent them from earning royalties on non-CC radio performances or other licensing revenue. Yes, it puts independents on a lower tier than the majors and it doesn't mean that CC has not engaged in anti-competitive behavior, but CC is not the evil bogeyman stealing songs from starving artists. Musicians will not be preventing from performing or recording these songs. Other radio stations will still have to pay performance royalties (unless also specifically exempted) and the publisher will still be able to exploit these songs in other licensing areas.

Permalink to Comment

3. drwex on June 25, 2007 12:25 PM writes...

If I understand the NPR story correctly (again, I'd love to second-source this) what CC is asking is for uploaders to sign away ALL rights, not just broadcast on CC channel rights.

And, Crosbie? CC controls a LOT of play venues. I would certainly not be one to thumb my nose at them, daring them to sue me.

Permalink to Comment

4. Crosbie Fitch on June 26, 2007 3:44 AM writes...

Come on drwex, a large and powerful corporation banning and suing an artist for performing their own material?

That's a ripe fruit of fame and fortune waiting for the first band to notice it.

1) Get noticed on CC radio
2) Your recording gets bootlegged anyway
3) Perform/broadcast/publish anywhere you want
4) Get sued by CC
5) Audience & illicit venue size increases
6) Profit!

The thing is, CC have probably figured this out all along and are simply waiting for the right band to become their first 'rebel' to be hyped up by litigation from 'The Man'.

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