Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Copyright ruling
leaves dead air
on the Internet

VIA "streaming" on the Internet, many local radio stations have extended on-air programming to Hawaii expatriates and those dreaming of Hawaii on the mainland and points beyond.

Many of those Webcasts became unavailable after a Friday ruling by the U.S. Copyright Office. In complaint filed by the Recording Industry Association of America, the copyright office ruled that radio broadcasters must pay licensing royalties for streaming music programming over the Internet.

Internet-only radio stations such as Robert Abbett's Internet Radio Hawaii,, have been assessed fees to play licensed music on the Web, while broadcasters have paid only for on-air use. Abbett was not available for comment.

Clear Channel Hawaii Director of Programming Paul Wilson said any stations in his seven-station group that were streaming online halted the practice earlier this month.

Texas-based Clear Channel Communications Inc. yanked 'Net broadcasts nationwide following an announcement by the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists that reasserted terms of its contract, which adds fees for Webcasting commercials featuring voices of its union members.

The massive online radio silence was borne out of concern stations would be assessed the fees, but the union's Web site dispels the misperception.

"The parties to the AFTRA Radio Recorded Commercials Contract are the advertisers and the advertising agencies on the one hand, and AFTRA on the other hand. Therefore, fees generated under this contract must be paid by the advertisers and the advertising agencies, not by the radio stations."

Cox Radio Hawaii, which also owns and operates seven Oahu radio stations, has technology to "screen out" Webcasts of federation commercials, according to an earlier statement by Vice President and General Manager Austin Vali.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4757, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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