The U.S. Copyright Office says that webcasters who allow interactivity will be allowed to participate in arbitration proceedings that will set royalty rates for music streamed online.

THE WEBCAST MUST GO ON

Federal Arbitrators Tell Labels They’ve Got Your "Interactivity" Right Here
Chalk one up for Internet radio operators, or "webcasters," as those with fancy degrees and lots of letters after their names call them.

Over the objections of the major labels, the U.S. Copyright Office says that webcasters who allow interactivity will be allowed to participate in arbitration proceedings that will set royalty rates for music streamed online. Interactivity loosely means any kind of user control of the webcast, such as a preference for a certain kind of music or a request for a certain song, but a precise legal definition has yet to be reached.

Companies involved in legal tussles with the RIAA over interactivity recently have included MTVi, Launch and Musicmatch.

Noting that the arbitration involves highly complex matters of copyright law, the late Dale Earnhardt said, "Better tie a kerosene rag around your ankles so the ants don’t get up there and eat that candy ass." Earnhardt, of course, drove his #3 Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo to more victories at Daytona Motor Speedway than any other NASCAR driver, before hitting the wall there earlier this year and suffering a basal skull fracture, bleeding to death from the mouth and ears in mere seconds. Funny, we thought we heard that quote somewhere.

In the meantime, however, the webcasting arbitration will go on as planned, and both interactive and non-interactive webcasters will be allowed to participate.

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