The world of music licensing is opaque, confusing, and quite frankly, a mess. It involves the cooperation of countless parties, from music publishers and record labels, to performance rights organizations, service providers, and artists, to the Department of Justice and the Library of Congress. Senior attorneys still scratch their heads as they try to make sense of this fragmented, piecemeal regime.
Clinic student attorneys Charles Frank and Breanne Hoke were tasked with synthesizing some of this information for a client representing one facet of the music industry, radio. The radio industry, which started as a strictly commercial broadcast industry, has now morphed into something that encompasses numerous noncommercial entities, many of which operate as low-power FM stations (LPFMs) and use the Internet medium as a means of simulcasting their terrestrial broadcasts. Others exclusively use the Internet to reach their audiences, as an eleven-year-old term, the “podcast,” has now made its way back into contemporary vernacular. The client, Prometheus Radio Project, is a non-profit organization that represents the interests of community radio stations across the nation. The students work was published on Prometheus’ website and the work has been shared and “liked” on social media by a wide range groups in the radio and music industry.