Podsafe Music Network: Great Idea, Rotten Terms

I’ve been considering changing the music used on the radioshow for a while, moving to music that I can guarantee is freely useable both on-air and in podcasts. A musician contacted me by email asking me to check out his work at the Podsafe Music Network, where artists can specifically license their songs to be used in podcasts.

So, I went to look around and found I have to register, which is fair enough. But then I read the terms of use. There is one term, in particular, which I believe to be wholly unreasonable and too restrictive for the mediageek radioshow:

8. You agree that a Broadcast or Music Podcast will not: …

b. promote or reference software piracy (warez, cracking, etc.), hacking, phreaking, emulators, ROM’s, or illegal MP3 activity;

Now, I don’t think we promote “piracy” or any of those actually “illegal” activities on the program, but we certainly do discuss them on a regular basis. It’s nigh impossible to talk about modern media and communications law without the topic coming up.

So, I might be able to live with the “promote” prohibition, but it’s the “reference” prohibition that I find unreasaonble. The word “reference” is so vague, that you could be found in violation of the terms of use just by reporting the recent Grokster decision at the Supreme Court.

And what if we discuss the legal and ethical questions of running emulators of obsolete computer hardware on your PC? Nevermind the fact that this can be done legally?

Sure, you might think, “ah, so what? Is anyone really going to hear and decide you’re in violation?”

Maybe not, but the risk is still too high, because if the Podshow company (which runs the Podsafe Music site) wanted to sue me for breach of contract, I’d have to answer in Delaware courts, by the terms of the agreement. Talk about adding expense to insult.

Frankly, these are bullshit terms, and while the idea is good, their execution sucks if you want to retain some reasonable free speech rights.

Luckily, the Podsafe Music Network’s isn’t the only game out there. Dave’s Imaginary Sound Space has a large list of podsafe music resources, and the Creative Commons provides ways to feature and find music that has been specifically licensed for use in podcasts.

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