Postclassic Radio has been found in violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, under which Live365.com operates. Because I sometimes play more than two consecutive tracks from the same CD, the station cannot be listed in Live365’s directory – I don’t really know how big a deal that is, I imagine most of my listeners go there direct from this blog. But here’s the e-letter I sent to Live365:
Dear Live 365 Staff,
I see that my internet station, Postclassic Radio, is
listed as noncompliant due to too many tracks coming from the same CD. I
run a classical-paradigm station, on which I sometimes play multimovement
works. According to the rules you’ve set up, it would be inadmissable to
program an entire Beethoven symphony, because that would require four
consecutive tracks from one CD. Surely some exception could be made for
classical works with more than two movements? My station gives exposure to
hundreds of little-known composers who are thrilled that I do this for
them, and some have specifically thanked me for playing entire works,
something no commercial radio station will do any longer.
I submit that this ruling imposes an unfair penalty on classical music. It
should be easy to distinguish multiple tracks that are all from one
classical work from several independent tracks that are truly
noncompliant: the titles will all be the same. For instance, I am now
listed as noncompliant for having a piece by Julius Eastman called “Piano
2,” which is in three movements, and the tracks are labeled “Piano 2,
i,” “Piano 2, ii,” and “Piano 2, iii.” In addition, this
is a private
recording, not even commercially released. No one is losing any income
from my playing this little-known, unrecorded work. Isn’t it possible that
when several consecutive tracks have the same title, except for the
movement number – like “Symphony No. 5” – that some allowance could be
made for it being an integral classical work in several tracks? And how is
it possible for this ruling to apply to works that aren’t even
commercially recorded, and therefore aren’t “tracks from the same CD”
in any meaningful sense?
My station attracts a lot of national attention, and there will be some
public outcry if I have to start scaling back the complete works I play
because a pop paradigm is being imposed on classical music.
Thanks for your attention, etc.
I won’t quote the reply I received, because I didn’t ask permission, but it sort of politely said, Screw you. Here’s a statement from their original notice:
In 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This piece
of legislation established parameters around which one could build a
business in instances where copyrighted digital material is concerned (e.g. music,
software). It also built in some protections for the content
companies who produce said digital material, (e.g. the RIAA) as they wanted to
ensure that internet distribution wouldn’t cannibalize sales.
So here I am, paying 30 bucks a month for the privilege of giving my friends’ music away so they can get some exposure, and I’m prevented from doing even that in a way that represents their music correctly because of laws put in place to protect megacorporations from being ripped off by the masses. One can imagine a nearby future in which people will not be allowed to distribute their music to each other unless some corporation is skimming money off the transaction.