Questions and answers on copyright and legality of Internet radio

General information for your reference. We are not responsible for the relevance 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 provide copyrights to any works and do not have our own music database free of royalties. The owner of an Internet radio is obliged to take care of the legality of distributing copyright content and, if necessary, make contributions to copyright communities or relevant services. Next, you can familiarize yourself with the basic concepts of legality and types of copyright. Our clients 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, GEMA - Germany 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 broadcasts exclusively its content
- the radio owner has acquired licenses or rights to broadcast copyright works (on services or from authors)
- the radio owner pays fees to the copyright community for broadcasting copyright works
- the radio owner 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 from this that, in most cases, the owner of any public radio that broadcasts non-payment-free copyrighted works of others 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 contacting the copyright community if you doubt the legality of your radio.

Public and non-public / Commercial and non-commercial

Previously, non-public and non-commercial Internet radio with limited access to a small group of people or private events was considered legally acceptable - without the need to pay royalties. Now these boundaries and acceptable requirements are very blurred and differ in different countries. It can definitely be said that commercial public radio hosted and accessible to all visitors, for example in catalogs or on websites, do not fall into this category. In the civil code there is also the concept of fair use - exempt from royalties. It may include non-commercial radio created for educational or cultural purposes, for example by 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 as you wish, anywhere
Creative Common BY - required author attribution, unlimited use (popular license)
Creative Common BY NC - required attribution, but prohibits commercial use
There are undoubtedly other types of licenses, but these are the main ones that allow you to stream music for free and legally.
Public domain - works without declared authorship or transferred to public use without any requirements or licenses. This category also includes works with expired authorship. In most countries, copyright rights expire 70 years after the author's death. This means that the works of authors who died before 1950 become public domain and, as a rule, do not require any royalties. For example Classic 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 a search service to find similar sites:
Freemusicarchive - large database of free music, more than 150,000 works
CCmixter - large database of free music, more than 30,000 works
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 terms and conditions)
Epidemicsound - with an inexpensive subscription you will get access to quality music
Additionally - some general information on radio licensing (in English)

As a hosting company we do not provide copyrights.

As a hosting company, we are not responsible for the media content transmitted over the radio and do not provide the right to broadcast copyrighted works - the owner of the radio is responsible for this. We are not able to monitor all radios for copyright infringement, and we also do not have the opportunity to check the legality of broadcasting in a certain country, because in each country the issue of copyright is resolved differently. Most radio stations broadcast all media content directly from themselves in LIVE mode or by relay. Among our clients there are all types of radio stations: author's, personal, labels, radio schools, programs/sections, podcasts and, of course, FM stations. Our system and players automatically display the author and title of the composition so as not to violate copyright. What’s interesting is that from time to time the authors themselves write to us asking us to add their works to the rotation of radio stations and even offer money for it, but we, as a hosting company, do not do this. As a rule, all unpopular authors are very interested in promoting their work and allow free distribution under a CC license or without. With so-called pop music things are different. Let us remind you once again that if you have any questions, first of all contact the author community in your country. If you are a copyright holder and have discovered copyright violations by our clients, please click on the "Copyright Holders" link at the bottom of our website.

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