Podcast Licence Launched A new licence for "podcasting" has been launched by the MCPS-PRS Alliance. The scheme is intended to help legitimise the use of musical compositions in podcasts, which, until last week, had to be cleared in each instance by the relevant publisher. The licence has only just been made available (though it may be backdated to 1 January 2006) and this version can run only until 31 March 2007. The licence covers use of Alliance-controlled works in a "podcast" (defined as a digital programme offered "on-demand" in which individual musical tracks cannot be extracted from the podcast as a whole) and fills one of the existing holes in the Joint Online Licence. The licence itself extends to 48 pages and is notable for the many provisions explaining exactly what it is not. Among the exclusions, it does not cover music used in connection with advertising, public performance, karaoke, or any graphic or physical copies such as CDs. It does not even cover podcasts unless each track within the podcast has the first and last 10 seconds obscured (with speech or a station ID), the music amounts to less than 80% of the total time, the podcast is longer than 15 minutes and uses no more than 3 tracks from one album and no more than 4 by one artist, no track markers are inserted and the podcast is made available only in its entirety. The royalty rate is the greater of 12% of gross revenue or a minimum fee of 1.5 pence per full-track and 0.75 pence per half-track (less than 50% by duration), and a quarterly advance is required. An annual minimum threshold of £400 also applies so services that generate less than £400 each year should use the "Limited Online Exploitation Licence" which is significantly cheaper. It should be noted that, whilst this scheme covers use of musical compositions controlled by the MCPS-PRS Alliance, podcasters may also need licences from the relevant record companies (and/or from AIM, which also recently launched its own podcast licence) for the use of the sound recordings in their podcasts. PPL currently offers no podcast licence. Further information on the Alliance podcast licence can also be found at: http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/aboutUs/. Further information on the AIM podcast licence can be found at: http://www.musicindie.org/news_show.asp?id=46.
Article by Tom Frederikse