Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


Joseph E. Magri

First Page



Streaming music over the Internet, or what otherwise is known as webcasting or Internet radio, has the potential to become the single most revolutionary means of music transmission ever developed.' In order to appreciate the potential impact of Internet radio, it is helpful to understand that Internet radio has the ability to venture far beyond the at-home personal computer that is tethered to a wall and logged-on to the Internet. With advances in wireless broadband technologies, such as wireless fidelity or Wi-Fi, and the growing availability of Internet content via mobile devices,' Internet radio will soon become widely available on mobile phones, PDA's, digital audio receivers' and other electronic accessories. Simply put, Internet radio is a new medium that is global by nature, easily accessible and positioned to play a significant role in the future of music...

The most direct approach to ensure the development of the webcasting industry is for the RIAA and SoundExchange to acknowledge that the current legal framework is dysfunctional and take proactive steps to remedy the situation. The RIAA and SoundExchange should use their collective position to voluntarily enter into negotiations with Webcasters and fashion a true marketplace agreement that is based on current market realities, not unrealistic future assumptions that may or may not materialize. This approach will take less time, less money and will be more efficient than initiating another CARP proceeding, pursuing litigation or engaging the legislative process. Under the leadership of the RIAA and SoundExchange, the nascent webcasting industry can begin to flourish and copyright owners of Sound Recordings can begin to earn more royalty fees in the process. After all, the more services that stream copyrighted Sound Recordings over the Internet, the more copyright owners will earn. It is a win-win solution for Webcasters and copyright owners of Sound Recordings that will have a broader impact on the future of music and the public at large.