But as the medium develops and radio chains such as Infinity and ClearChannel Communications enter the field, podcasters who want to play brand-name content will face a copyright stumbling block. “It’s going to be extremely frustrating,” says Chris MacDonald, director of legal affairs for the Association of Music Podcasting, a group of Webcasters.
Why the conundrum? Simply put, copyright law hasn’t caught up to technology. While the music industry has created an efficient licensing system for music-streaming on the Web, which doesn’t entail making copies, it hasn’t cobbled together one for podcast-style music downloads.
PLAYING IT SAFE. And since podcasts enable listeners to download Web radio shows onto their iPods or other music players, the podcasters are violating copyrights if they don’t get permission from each recording label whose music they play. The one-off approvals add up to a big headache for small-time podcasters.