Bottom Line: Just Use Podsafe Music

The Music in Podcasts panel (background of speakers) at the Portabale Media Expo covered the gamut of issues faced by music podcasters. The panel discussed mechanical and compulsory licenses (don't expect either of these anytime soon), whether podcasting will kill radio (some say yes, some say no, and some say maybe), how the major record labels will/are responding (not well), and copyright's fair use in podcasts (it's very risky and costs of defending the case will have an number "with a lot of 0s after it").

Though there was much enthusiasm about podsafe music and promoting independent radio, and also complaints about how the record labels are (mis)handling these opportunities, moderator Gerd Leonhard made clear that the panel is not there to bash the record labels. Nevertheless, it seemed that everyone agreed that the best thing to do is to just stop using music from the major lables in podcasts. There's plenty of podsafe alternatives, and why take the risk? (Accord adam curry swearing off big label music.)

Other details... Derrick Oien from the Association of Music Podcasting opined that the music industry is moving towards a service model in delivering music. An enthusiastic audience member said "This room is empowered to change the landscape." She made the point that the record labels are mostly there to convince the listeners/buyers of what is popular, and what they want to listen to. The indies and podcasters are the opposite. They are there to get any music out there and make it available for anyone to listen to it. They don't have to convince us that what they say is popular is popular or whether we should want to listen to it. We get to choose. To these comments, Derrick said "this is about the listeners, not the podcasters." I liked that whole discussion a lot.

On an important legal footnote, the issue of fair use came up. I think attendees might have left with the impressionthat fair use may not apply to reproduction or delivery of music in podcast form. This is incorrect. Fair use is a complete defense to any coyright claim. If your conduct constitutes a fair use, it is "not an infringement" of the copyright. (That's right out of the statute.) The practical problem is, as Matt May said, the only time you get to test it is after you get sued and spend all that money on defending the suit. True, so darn true. (We'll cover this more at our legal panel tomorrow @ 3:15.)

Add new comment