online airchecks

Garrett Wollman
Wed Sep 24 16:28:23 EDT 2008

<<On Wed, 24 Sep 2008 15:36:05 -0400, said:

> What are the legalities involved in posting this stuff online ?

You should obviously consult with an attorney.  He or she will explain
to you the balancing test used to determine whether the use of a
copyrighted recording is "fair use" or not, and what legal precedents
may say.  For recordings in digital formats, there are additional
requirements thanks to Congress's supine posture towards the copyright
industry; if you make recordings of all or substantial parts of songs
available in a digital format, you may be liable for per-access
royalties to the record companies in addition to the performance
rights organizations.

In general, you are much better off severely scoping any published
musical performances down to the bare minimum necessary.  (For legal
IDs, I keep no more than ten seconds of intro or outro, but only a
lawyer can advise you.)  You can read the rules, such as they are, in
the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 107, but you should still consult a

> What about the station's own claims to copyright and intellectual 
> property of content it originally aired, be it talk programs, DJ's, 
> news, sports, jingles, advertising, etc.?

I would expect the decision to weight heavily on paragraphs (3) ("the
amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the
copyrighted work as a whole") and (4) ("the effect of the use upon the
potential market for or value of the copyrighted work").  Ask a lawyer
to advise you on how these have been determined in past case law.

> I have a 1966 Boston Celtics championship game - complete - called by 
> Johnny Most.  Would the Celtics have some sort of claim to that 42 
> years later ?

The copyright owner (which for a game that old may or may not be the
Celtics) would have an interest, as would the Celtics on trademark
grounds.  However, it is possible -- depending on various
technicalities of how the broadcast was made and what the owners did
later on -- that your recording is actually in the public domain.
Determining its status would involve a great deal of legal research,
cost a lot of money, and probably would not give a conclusive answer.

> Is there a difference if a station ceases to exist - like '60s era WMEX 
> and WCOP - or can the modern operator of those facilities still get 
> involved (even if using entirely different calls, format, and - in the 
> case of 1510 - broadcast facilities) ?

The owner of the station does not have any particular rights.  What
matters is the owner of the copyright.  To find out who that is would
likely be extremely difficult, is it depends on the details of every
individual sale contract.  (My guess is that the current owner of 1510
does not own any of the intellectual property of the old WMEX, but who
does own it may be impossible to determine.)

> Podcasts, Internet radio stations, etc. could be a similar case.  Are 
> these relatively unrestricted ?  I suppose country-of-origin comes into 
> play.  A Chinese or Russian webcaster could likely play entire albums 
> (or, for that matter, host full-length bootleg US movies) with little 
> problem.

All of these uses require royalty payments to the copyright owners in
every jurisdiction where listeners are located.  If you listen to a
Chinese stream, and they play some in-copyright music, they are
required to pay ASCAP/BMI/SESAC for the songwriter's/composer's
royalty and SoundExchange for the record company's royalty, because
the act of reproduction is deemed to have taken place in the
listener's computer.  Consult an attorney for the full details.


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