Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has taken action against several internet radio stations that allow listeners to participate in the selection of music to be broadcast. The RIAA fears that interactive radio services that give a limited degree of choice to listeners will adversely affect music retail sales.

The recent legal action against such services, which include those provided by MTV’s SonicNet, Launch, MusicMatch and Xact Radio, has received less backing from the recording industry than other cases such as Napster. This is partly because the radio services have adopted strict rules for requesting songs in an attempt to comply with the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1988 (DMCA). These measures include restricting the number of tracks that can be played from any one album and playing no more than four from any particular artist within a three hour period.

Since these services do not involve file-swapping and have a limited interactive nature, they differ significantly from most other internet music services. It remains unclear whether the measures taken will be sufficient for a court to rule against the RIAA’s argument that they breach the DMCA.

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