Wednesday, August 26, 2009


It’s always nice to get something for free but the old adage “nothing is for free” may apply to some of those Internet radio stations allowing people to air for free their internet radio, podcast or audio blog programs.

To avoid any possible pitfalls it is always in your best interest to do your due diligence. That means always read and understand all parts of any Agreement BEFORE you agree to it. You need to be aware of the full legal implications of the clauses in the entire Agreement and how they can affect you. The following are some things in Agreements to take into consideration before you agree or sign on the dotted line.

· Some Agreements might thinly disguise that they are the ones that own your programs and not you. For example an agreement might say you cannot copy or distribute or modify any part of their service – since the airing of your program could be considered part of their service – they may own your show. It may be unbeknownst to you but unless they state it specifically in the Agreement that you own all rights to your programs, they own any shows aired on their network and can do what they want with them.

This also may mean you may not be able to syndicate or simulcast or distribute your show (or any show previously aired on their network) on another radio station or even a web site unless the site is owned by you, since the content is theirs and not yours. This is true even if you actually created the show content and the show yourself.

This may also mean that if your guests distribute your programs or a part of the program and you don’t know about it that you and your guest may be liable for your guest’s actions too.

· You might not be able to use your shows for commercial purposes and if you do they can charge you for them as they deem fit. They may not even define in writing what the term “commercial purposes” means.

· They may have a clause saying that although they are not charging you fees at this time, they can at anytime, decide to charge fees, change their fee structure and even the monetary amount they charge you via 5-7 day written notice and you may have to pay. If you have built up an audience and cannot afford to pay the charges you will probably have to get off air and leave your audience hanging.

· Your storage space for past aired shows may be free but does your agreement state that it will be free forever or does it state that they can do anything , including charging you, at their discretion?

· Some Agreements may have clauses worded in such a way that at first glance you don’t recognize that if you reach a certain amount of downloadable bandwidth usage they can automatically charge you the overage because you signed their Agreement.

· Sometimes an Agreement has the perpetual right (that means forever) to distribute, license and use your program or any part of your program at any time, anywhere in the world. Seems okay if you’re trying to get listeners but what about 5-10-15 years from now when you become famous and someone takes a piece of your broadcast and misconstrues it. You have no legal right to do anything about it.

· If you inadvertently play a licensed song in your program that you do not have written permission from the artists AND the record label you are legally responsible for all the liability, legal fees, fines and payments due. Your streaming station is held harmless.

· If your streaming station decides to sell to another company they can, without your consent, turn over your already signed Agreement to the new owners or can immediately terminate your agreement at anytime, for any reason, at their discretion.

These are only a few of the things to look into and understand because each Agreement is different. If you don’t understand an Agreement - get help to understand it before you sign or agree to it so that your experience with Internet Radio can be a positive one without surprises.

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