The Digital Media Association (DiMA) and five of its member companies want a federal court to clarify exactly what copyright regime they must follow in order to stream music to paying subscribers.
The group - which includes Launch Media, MTVi, MusicMatch and Listen.com - is suing the Recording Industry Association of America at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, but the group is not seeking any damages. The court's decision will affect how much money webcasters must pay to record labels and other entities for the privilege of streaming music over the Internet. DiMA's member companies already have agreed to pay into a pool of royalties so they can offer a subscription-based web-streaming service. They do not want to be included in the category of webcasters who have to negotiate copyright deals with individual record labels.
Distributors of copyright material, including cable operators, satellite companies and radio stations, prefer to have a compulsory license to gain access to protected content because it is much more expensive to clear all the copyrights needed to offer a wide-ranging programming service. - Paige Albiniak