The record industry has accused radio stations of indulging in piracy for playing music on the radio.
It’s the latest twist in the ongoing saga of the record industry vs sanity, and it needs some explanation. Radio stations don’t pay for the right to play music, despite online radio stations having to pay often outrageous amounts in the United States. The radio industry argues that playing music on air is promotion of that music, and given that they a providing a service to the record industry they shouldn’t have to pay for it. The record industry, lusting for every last cent, argues that radio stations make billions of dollars from playing music, therefore they should get a cut.
It’s extremely difficult to take sides on this. On the one hand the promoting music argument from radio makes sense, and lets face it, the enemy of my enemy should be my friend. The flip side: all radio, be it online or offline, should be treated the same so we have a level playing field, which we currently don’t have as big media controlled radio gets a free ride. I’m slightly siding with the record industry here, but only because an initial RIAA win will cause complete chaos in commercial radio and music promotion, most definitely leading to massive action against the RIAA from big media that will end up in court and cost the record companies millions. Secondly, the absurd double standard of copyright law in terms of music delivered online and off may end up being reviewed due to this case, and maybe, just maybe we might see better, more fairer laws at the end of the process.