Questions and answers on copyright and legality of internet radio

General information for reference. We are not responsible for the topicality and accuracy!

Please note that we are a hosting company and provide the technical ability to organize radio broadcasting on the Internet. We do not grant copyright to any works and do not have our own royalty-free music database. The owner of Internet radio is obliged to take care of the legality of the distribution of copyright content and, if necessary, make contributions to the author's communities or relevant services. Further you can get acquainted with the basic concepts of legality and types of copyright. Our customers are radio stations from more than 20 countries and each country has its own characteristics. For any questions, you need to contact the author's community in your country: RAO - Russia, UAASP - Ukraine, NCIS - Belarus, KazAK - Kazakhstan, PRS for music - England and others.

How to determine if a radio is legal

Let's look into this complex issue and give examples of completely legal radios:
- the owner of the radio is the author himself, broadcasts exclusively his works and has all rights to the broadcast content
- the owner of the radio is a label or record company and only broadcasts its own content
- the owner of the radio has acquired licenses or rights to broadcast copyrighted works (on services or from authors)
- the owner of the radio pays contributions to the community of authors for broadcasting copyrighted works
- the owner of the radio uses exclusively free music that does not require royalties (more details below)
- the owner of the radio does not broadcast publicly and uses legally acquired content only for himself personally

It follows that, in most cases, the owner of any public radio that broadcasts other people's works of authorship, not free from payments, must pay royalties. A so-called broadcasting license for internet radio is not required and registration as a media outlet is voluntary. But this does not exempt the radio from paying royalties. We recommend that you contact the author's community if you doubt the legality of your radio.

Public and non-public / Commercial and non-commercial

Previously, non-public and non-commercial internet radios with closed access to a small group of people or private events were considered legally acceptable - without the need to pay royalties. Now these boundaries and permissible requirements are very blurred and differ in different countries. It can definitely be said that commercial public radio hosted and available to all visitors, for example in catalogs or on websites, does not belong to this category. In the civil code there is also the concept of good-soviet use - exempting from royalties. It may include non-commercial radios created for educational or cultural purposes, such as radio schools or cultural organizations. If your radio is non-public and non-commercial, try to check with the author's community in your country whether your radio is exempt from royalties.

Types of copyrights, licenses and a little about free music

Most popular works are already registered in various communities or services, which means that they are not free, but they can be free. Let's give examples of copyrights and licenses giving the right to distribute:
Public Domain - public domain - these works can be used in any way and anywhere
Creative Common BY - Mandatory Attribution, Unrestricted Use (Popular License)
Creative Common BY NC - Mandatory attribution, but prohibits commercial use
Undoubtedly, there are other types of licenses, but these are the main ones that allow you to broadcast music for free and legally.
Public domain - works without a claimed authorship or transferred to the public without any requirements and licenses. This category also includes works with expired authorship. In most countries, copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author. This means that the works of authors who died before 1950 become the public domain and usually do not require any royalties. For example Classical or Jazz, subject to the above.

Where to find free or subscription music

royalty free music. There are enough sites and services on the Internet with free or subscription music.
Use the search service to find similar sites:
Freemusicarchive - a large database of free music, over 150,000 pieces
CCmixter - a large database of free music, over 30,000 pieces
Free music public domain - another site with free music for non-commercial use
Soundcloud - you can filter free music, read the terms of use
Youtube Audiolibrary - read licenses and terms of use outside of YouTube
TuneTank - free collection of 2000+ great music tracks (read the terms)
Epidemicsound - with an inexpensive subscription you will get access to high-quality music
Extras - some general information on radio licensing (in English)

As a hosting company we do not provide copyright

As a hosting company, we are not responsible for the media content transmitted by the radio and do not grant the right to broadcast copyrighted works - the owner of the radio is responsible for this. We are not able to control all radio for copyright infringement, and we also do not have the ability to check the legality of broadcasting in a particular country, because in each country the copyright issue is resolved in its own way. Most radio stations broadcast all media content directly from themselves in LIVE mode or by relay. Among our clients there are all kinds of radio stations: author's, personal, labels, radio schools, programs / headings, podcasts and, of course, FM stations. Our system and players automatically display the author and the title of the composition so as not to violate authorship. Interestingly, the authors themselves write to us from time to time with a request to add their works to the rotation of radio stations and even offer money for this, but we, as a hosting company, do not do this. As a rule, all unpopular authors themselves are very interested in promoting their work and allow free distribution under a CC license or without. With the so-called pop music, things are different. Once again, if you have any questions, first of all, contact the author community in your country. If you are the copyright holder and have found copyright infringement by our customers, please click on the "Copyright Holders" link at the bottom of our website.

Thank you for your attention. A lot of time was spent on writing this article.
If you find erroneous or outdated information, please let us know!