The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States Copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). For our purposes, the DMCA is the rule-maker of what can and cannot be legally broadcast on Internet Radio.
Believe it or not, there are rules that we internet broadcasters have to follow in order to be in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The rules have been modified over the years and sometimes they're difficult to follow.
So what does this mean to us? Well here's what it means when it comes to broadcasting music. This is only part of a long, complicated copyright rule but it applies to what we're referring to today.
Sound Recording Performance Complement. A Webcaster must comply with the “sound recording performance complement,” which prohibits a Webcaster from transmitting, within any given three hour period: (A) more than three different songs from the same album, with no more than two such songs transmitted consecutively. (B) more than four different songs by the same artist or compilation, with no more than three such songs transmitted consecutively.
This rule affected me yesterday. I was preparing a half hour special on Aretha Franklin, I voicetracked it and placed it in the broadcast cue than.........OH! I remembered this rule. I checked the detail again and had to go back and re-do the work I had already done. Instead of a "special on Aretha," I had to modify it to a "tribute" where I would feature an Aretha Franklin song at the top of each hour beginning at 10:00am.
Was I frustrated? Yes of course. I don't understand all of the restrictions for internet radio broadcasting and quite frankly I don't think they really make sense but never the less we have to follow them!
Fellow broadcasters, remember these compliancy rules when preparing a music special on your station.