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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @
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June 02, 2005

Rush Limbaugh to Launch Podcast on June 3rd - No Music Though

Posted by Ernest Miller

Rush Limbaugh starts his podcast tomorrow, Friday, June 3rd (El Rushbo Answers Your Podcast Questions). The shows will be available approximately 2 hours after the broadcast ends. In order to get the RSS feed, however, you'll need to be a subscriber to the website which costs ~$60. [Correction: A commentor says the cost is $34.95] Perhaps he might want to consider a teaser 5-10 minute daily show excerpt that is free.

Interestingly, Rush explains to his listeners that he can't include any music in the show due to licensing issues:

Now, a number of people -- and you people know who you are -- you are writing me caustic and vicious notes about the fact there will be no music on these MP3s. We will not be able to download with you the theme song, the opening theme. No parodies will be downloadable. We might be able to get away with the bumper music because it's only ten to 15 seconds; it would qualify under fair use, but many of you are saying, "Well, I don't think you know what you're talking about." Right. I don't know what I'm talking about. I run the show and I don't know what I'm talking about. "You don't what you're talking about. Other shows, other shows have MP3s, download, music on them. You can do it." Ladies and gentlemen, (ahem) there's a little bit of a difference between this show and some others -- and that difference is size. Let me tell you why we can't. Really a lot of people are writing me, "Why can't we get the music? I don't understand! The parodies are some of the greatest…" The reason is the music industry is forbidding, unless an exorbitant fee is paid, you cannot essentially copy music for nothing, and that's what would be happening here. If we put the music like the theme song and we put these parodies which are based on existing copyrights that we don't own... You know, we can parody them here on the radio, but that's a one-time usage, but if we then distribute that and allow virtually our MP3 files for all that to be copied we are essentially giving away somebody's product. And it would be one day, and the music industry would be all over us for doing it and we would have to stop it or fight them or whatever, and we couldn't win. We looked into it.

You know, we pay a rights fee every year for the opening theme song, but it does not include the privilege of copying it hundreds of thousands of times for free so that people can have it on their computers. We don't have that license. The same thing goes with the parodies. Now, if other shows are doing it, it means they're either ignorant of the law or they're small enough they don't think they'll get caught or they're small enough that they don't think it will be a big deal if the music industry notices. I don't have that luxury -- and besides, folks, I'm not going to break the law anyway. There's no point in it. Now, at some point I expect this to change. I don't know when, but there will be a way to make this happen at some point. But for now, starting out tomorrow, the legalities are clear -- and if you understand that it's nothing more than copying songs and distributing them for free. You can't do that yourself for your own computer. You can't do it with movies legally. You can't do it with any video legally, but as an individual if you do it, if you get caught, you've seen the FBI warnings on the front of these DVDs that you go out and rent or buy. You get caught, I'm not they're going to come after you. The music industry is dead serious. Hollywood is dead serious about piracy and unauthorized duplication, and that's essentially what we would be doing. So the short answer is our mammoth size makes it impossible for us to do this on a stealth basis like some of these others are apparently able to do because they've been doing it along or either nobody knows or nobody cares. I don't have that luxury.

I wonder if Rush would be interested in using music that has the appropriate Creative Commons license?

In any case, if this is successful I can imagine quite a few other radio personalities will jump on it. It could also open up the market for others. We shall see.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Broadcatching/Podcasting | Copyright | File Sharing


COMMENTS

1. KJ on June 15, 2005 07:15 PM writes...

Rush 24/7 costs $34.95 not $60. Where'd you get $60? And also, we post the entire show broken up as audio on the site for free as streamed audio. In addition, there are free MP3s on the MP3 page. Have a look at the site and you'll find a lot more content available than any other website on the internet. It would be worth $60. I'd get a raise if it were, but it's not.

Permalink to Comment

2. Ernest Miller on June 15, 2005 07:22 PM writes...

When I originally posted this I looked around the site for a price and that is the one I found. I apologize if it is incorrect. As for the free samples, I was actually thinking of a free teaser podcast, not simply downloads.

In any case, many thanks for commenting.

Permalink to Comment

3. KJ on June 15, 2005 07:54 PM writes...

That's ok. Glad to set the record straight. You might have seen the combo deal for the Limbaugh Letter and 24/7. You mentioned a snippet so I thought that would be an MP3 and therefore a reasonable similiarty to the podcasts, which are of course whole shows.

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