Univision has accused Michael Robertson’s DAR.fm of infringing copyright and has demanded that all of its stations be removed and permanently blocked from the radio time-shifting service. Univision particularly objects to DAR.fm’s premium subscribers having the ability to permanently keep recordings they’ve made using the service. [See the letter, below.]
Robertson said that cease-and-desist letters are common in the online media landscape but that most digital music and online radio companies that receive them choose to quietly deal with them. “My approach is different. I think it’s important for everyone in an industry to know what is going on so all can be clear on the rules,” he said.
He objected to Univision’s assertion that adding portability to personal use recordings of radio was “opening the door for users to engage in copyright infringement,” as the letter read. “DAR.fm is simply a DVR for audio,” Robertson said. “If you believe a DVR is legal then so is DAR.fm.”
Robertson also said that legal precedent is on the side of DAR.fm. “The law is clear that cloud recording services are not infringing and don’t require a license,” he said. “I encourage you to read the Cartoon Network case.”
For those unfamiliar with it, the appeal court in Cartoon Network LP v. CSC Holdings Inc. basically ruled that: the automated copying of content at user request did not constitute direct infringement; time-shifting content to its original audience did not constitute public performance; and buffering content streams did not itself constitute unlawful copying.
“Univision’s knee-jerk reaction seems to be carrying on the longstanding media company tradition of making legal threats against every new technology,” Robertson said. “Just as the DVR has energized the TV business, DAR.fm can do the same for radio making it available at a convenient time and device for consumers. TV viewing is up 40 percent over the last decade since the DVR, while radio listening is down.”
It’s not just Univision that’s unhappy with Robertson. In response to its question about DAR.fm, Radio Ink received a statement that read: “Clear Channel Radio does not participate with or allow radio content aggregators to use or promote Clear Channel stations and programming, including content provided by Premiere Networks.”
It’s relatively easy to record any kind of audio that’s available on the Internet, but Robertson’s DAR.fm is a free service that makes it even simpler, with additional capabilities available to premium subscribers. Online radio can be scheduled and recorded for playback at any time, and listeners can pause, rewind or fast forward the playback. The recorded programs are security encoded and stored on the cloud for access from smartphones, computers, Roku players and many other connected devices.
“With DAR.fm we’re talking about radio broadcasts that make more money the more people that hear them. The more people that hear the shows the more advertiser’s message gets out,” Robertson said. “DAR.fm has 16,000 shows in the catalog – most shows suffer from a lack of awareness just like artists and tech companies. The biggest challenge they face is letting people know they exist. DAR.fm can take a regional show like Lady Brain (think Terry Gross meets Howard Stern) and make it accessible to the masses. That’s a fantastic development for the radio business.”
Radio Ink – http://tinyurl.com/3fjaxtb