View Full Version : Broadcasting
11-10-2007, 11:04 PM
What are the rules on low power FM braodcasting of music? Do people use music from a public domain source? What about copyrighted songs, are you required to pay royalties?
11-11-2007, 07:57 AM
Firstly, rules vary by country, so it's important to include your country when you ask legal questions.
To be honest, I'm not sure too many people have really investigated this. I think that most of us are taking a 'don't ask, don't tell' approach to this subject.
According to wikipedia, the broadcasting rules in the US are:
Unlicensed broadcasts on the FM broadcast band are limited to a field strength of 250 µV/m at a distance of 3 meters from the antenna.
The FM broadcast band is limited but not restricted to 87.6 MHz (but see note below on TV) to 107.9 MHz. Any unlicensed broadcasting over a signal strength of 250 µV/m at a distance of 3 m from the antenna is punishable by law and confiscation of all broadcast equipment.
People have been using devices such as iPod transmitters for this purpose, sometimes modifying the incuded antenna (which may or may not violate the laws above).
At least one manufacturer of FM transmitter equipment is offering a special deal to members of this group. See http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=944.
I attempted to do some research just now on broadcast royalties in the US and wasn't able to find much in a few minutes of searching. If anyone knows, please share your thoughts.
11-11-2007, 08:05 AM
This subject has come up year after year on another board. If I recall you do not need to pay royalties unless you are charging admission. People have contacted some of the recording companies and they stated they do not have a license group for such a use as we desire. So we do not need anything from the recording companies except a legal copy of the song.
As to the FCC pretty much any modification to a transmitter as well as the powerful transmitters we use are against the FCC rules. It seems to be as long as you do not interfere with legal stations or cause interference with other transmitters or receivers, such as over powering you neighbors radio so he can not listen to his favorite radio station, you "should" be fine. But keep in mind it may not be legal.
11-12-2007, 03:29 PM
I invited myself to participate in the discussion on the "Other Forum" about the FCC hosted by the abominable Mr. Young. I am now, and have always been of the opinion that the FCC is far more concerned with "Wardrobe Malfunctions" that occur during family programming, Howard Stern and the very profitable fines his employers have been forced to pay, and anything they can do to assist Comcast's absorption, assimilation and increased consumer rates of all cable companies across the nation.
There is nothing profitable about... and no good pubic relations could come from... interfering with a low power radio station that is used to facillitate a Christmas Light display. The possibility that someone from the Federal Government is going to come to my house and fine me for playing Christmas music through what equates to an iPod FM modulator is laughable at best.
My 2 cents about the "other place's discussion"... There's paranoia... and then there's the next higher version... "The Government is coming to get me..." There's medication that can help with that one. Relax. Play your lightshow over a low power transmitter and don't upset your neighbors or the local radio stations and you'll be fine.
11-12-2007, 03:44 PM
Have you heard about two recent bills introduced into Congress?
The way the US government is turning this civil issue into a criminal issue is certainly worth being worried about. I too would hope that the FCC would have more important things to worry about, but I'm not as certain as you are that that's the case.
(Having said that, unless anyone knows specifics about how royalties should be paid in our cases, I will choose to do my broadcast this year and won't lose much sleep over it.)
11-12-2007, 07:57 PM
snip...I too would hope that the FCC would have more important things to worry about, but I'm not as certain as you are that that's the case. ...unsnip
I've been hearing that the FCC was coming to get me ever since I was a little kid with a 100watt Siltronics 10meter amature radio tuned to CB channels, powering a 1000watt linear amplifier so I could talk to people in Greece on channel 9... Still here running a pirate radio station with Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing a duet. I can imagine being charged with a crime for airing that little gem... but the rest is just a big scare tactic that has echoed on and on and on. It just gets tiring hearing the same old fears year after year with no evidence that anyone has ever been harassed (that doesn't count for the guy that was rebroadcasting Satellite radio in a highly populated area and blatently bragging about it on the internet, he got what he had coming)
Regarding the rules and laws imposed by the FCC. They have always been intentionally vague and far reaching. Each appointed member of the commission has their own agenda and that vagueness is what enables them. In this administration the agenda is obviously right winged religeon and wholesomeness in the media. Fine New York radio stations for the on-air use of a word in an improper context, yet you can turn on prime time television and see nakedness akin to european television. ...and the exact same word used over and over again on Oprah. Nope, they aren't interested in my Christmas display radio station any more than they want to hear complaints about the latter.
Bills are introduced before congress time and time again, most are even more ridiculous than those. Not going to lose any sleep here in Maple Shade... In fact I just got the LPA1 amplifier out of the closet. One block just isn't enough...
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