Is your station prepared for ALL the requirements of the DMCA?
Can your station afford to meet these requirements and pay the fees?

The DMCA was passed by congress in 1998. The DMCA provides a means for record labels and recording artists to collect a copyright fee for the use of sound recordings when used on the Internet. These fees are in addition to the fees that are paid to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

The information provided below is meant to provide stations with a basic understanding of what all of this means.

  • Stations need to pay a $20 fee to the US copyright office and file an "Initial Notice of Digital Transmissions of Sound Recordings Under Statutory license". The form is available at . If you are streaming and have not done this, you should take a look at the copyright office comments on the topic.

  • Programming restrictions.

    A. No interactivity. This becomes problematic if a listener makes a request and can expect to hear that song within a relatively short period of time.

    B. If your station originatate its stream in house, your station is restricted in the number of songs you can play from the same album/artist.
    Specifically... no more than 3 songs and no more than 2 in a row from a recording or no more than 4 songs and no more than 3 in a row from the same recording artist or set of sound recordings sold as a unit (box set).

    C. No advance notice of songs, except in an illustrative manner or in at an unspecified future time.

    D. Archived material also has restrictions.

    E. Repeated programs are also restricted.

    F. Restrictions on ads that appear simultaneously with the copyrighted material.

  • Presentation on the Web

    A. You can't cause the users browser to automatically be forwarded to another url .

    B. Where possible you must prevent users from recording your stream.

    C. Information concerning the recording, including the artist, title and album. Exemptions include third party servers and where the technology is not common in the marketplace.

  • Fees. The Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress has announced that the fees will be $.0007 per song, per listener for all but FCC licensed non-commercial stations. FCC licensed non-commercial stations will pay a fee of $.0002 per song per listener. There is an additional fee of 8.8% of the per song, per listener fee for the ephemeral license. The annual minimum fee is $500.

  • Record Keeping.

    Currently, the Copyright Office has posted "likely interim" recordkeeping requirements. This page states that the "interim" recordkeeping requirements will likely include, "for each sound recording transmitted, the featured recording artist, the sound recording title, the name of the record album containing the sound recording, if in the possession of the service, or supplied to the service, at or before the time of the performance, the marketing label of the sound recording, if in the possession of the service, or supplied to the service, at or before the time of the performance; and the total number of performances of the sound recording during the relevant reporting period.

    The page does not define what it means by a performance or how it is to be measured. Likely possibilities include, an average number of listeners or the actual number of listeners for each song (sound recording).

    The page also states that, "After several months, these transitional reporting requirements will be replaced by final requirements that are likely to include more comprehensive reporting."


    "The interim requirements are likely to require each service to report the following information for a certain period of time during each calendar quarter:"

Back to the home page for other relevant links.

The links page offers a more comprehensive look at how all this evolved, with links to various documents along the way.

Stations and listeners should take action now.. Immediate support takes a minute or less. Take the minute to tell your government how you feel!

If you want to read the US copyright office SUMMARY of the DMCA, click here .

To read the full text, click here