Guide to Copyright Law

What is copyright? What rights does copyright law confer? What is fair use? What licenses does a station need to broadcast and/or stream musical works and sound recordings?

These and many questions face community radio stations.

What are the royalty rates for streaming? What information needs to be sent to SoundExchange and how often for streaming music? What licenses does a station need to use music in a podcast? Is a station allowed to make copies of its CDs or vinyl albums to put on its hard drive so DJs can program the station from a computer? Can DJs use music from YouTube, Pandora, Spotify or other digital services? What are the penalties for infringement?

The Guide to Copyright Law for Noncommercial Radio Stations was produced by John Crigler and Melodie Virtue, partners in the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer. The Guide covers portions of copyright law that are relevant to broadcasting and streaming music to U.S. listeners. Learn what you need to know to keep your station on the right side of copyright law.

Download the guide by logging in to the Solution Center, the knowledgebase available to NFCB member stations. If your station is not a member, you can join here.

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