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UK podcasters push for better licensing

Music Alliance urged to tweak rule book

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Podcasters have met the Music Alliance in an attempt to get performance fee collectors to reconsider their rules on using licensed music in downloadable audio.

The UK Podcasters Association (UKPA) was set up to counter a Music Alliance scheme it describes as “unworkable”. Its membership is drawn from the several hundred small media and homebrew podcasters in the UK.

UKPA chairman Dean Whitbread said: “We would like to be able to pay a reasonable fee, without worrying about restrictive “rules” whilst we pioneer, develop and exploit new commercial formats.

"If they let us do that, ultimately they'll make a lot more money out of us."

The UKPA says the Music Alliance's podcast licence is too vague and impinges on speech-only podcasts and on those using so-called “podsafe” music, which is licensed under alternative arrangements such as Creative Commons.

The Music Alliance, a federation of the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), launched its podcast music licensing scheme in March.

MD Steve Potter said at the time: “Podcasting has really exploded into life over the past six months. It has quickly moved from the efforts of a few hobbyists into an accepted method of distributing content. We are introducing this licence as quickly as possible to enable music podcasters to trade legitimately.”

The Music Alliance says the licence is a trial in its current form, set to run until the end of the year. It is meeting with interested parties and big providers to figure out how best to collect subs from podcasters. Opponents of the current licence say it costs too much for hobbyist podcasters to comply.

MCPS and PRS are currently in dispute with the record industry over how much artists should be paid from online distribution of their work. ®

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