Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Amanda S. Reid


Music embodies two copyrights: one for the words and notes, and another for the particular sound recording. Copyright law provides for a compulsory license that enables a Webcaster to transmit songs without first negotiating price and permission, provided a royalty fee is paid. A condition for being eligible for the statutory license is compliance with the "sound recording performance complement," which limits the number of songs that may be played during a three-hour period to no more than three songs from one album, and no more than two songs back to back. This Article argues that the "sound recording performance complement" provision unduly restricts Webcasters' First Amendment right to freedom of expression and also interferes with Webcasters editorial discretion.