Norwegian Wouldn’t: Radio Station Unaware That Giving Away Beatles Songs In Podcast Form Isn’t Exactly Legal Either

noah | January 7, 2009 4:00 am

Earlier this week, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) caused a worldwide ripple when it started a podcast series called “Our Daily Beatles,” which was based on a 2007 radio series in which each song in the Beatles’ 212-track catalog was paired with a story for a sixish-minute package; the songs were played in full, thus making the Fab Four’s catalog digitally available for the first time in forever—for free. There were a few legal loopholes that made NRK think this setup was A-OK: the downloads would only be available for 30 days, and the shows were “less than 70% music,” so everything would be hunky dory. Well, if you can believe it, the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry wasn’t too keen on the whole concept for a few reasons. NRK explains after the jump!

Our new agreement with rights holder TONO gives us rights to publish radio and TV shows we aired a long time ago. But the agreemnt NRK has with rights holders IFPI and FONO only allows us to publish shows that has been aired the last four weeks. And since “Our daily Beatles” was aired in 2007, we have to pull it from the podcast (see below for details about the agreements)…..

NRK has agreements with three major rights holder: TONO, FONO og IFPI.

TONO has the rights for Norwegian composers and writers – the people who write the lyrics and the music. FONO represents the rights for Norwegian record companies. IFPI represents the rights for international record companies.

NRK recently got a new agreement with TONO where we pay a considerable amount of money to be able to use music from TONO’s members on tv, radio and new media. This agreements gives us the right to podcast shows with music, as long as it isn’t more than 70% or 42 minutes per hour.

Both NRK and TONO are very happy with the new agreement. It gives NRK the possibility to create new services online with our huge archive. Composers and musicians earn a lot when we play their music on NRKs 3 tv-channels, 13 radiochannels and online.

The NRK-TONO agreement is unique, and we in NRK salutes TONO for their vision. People’s media habits have changed dramatically the latest years, with MP3-players, music without DRM, bittorrent, MySpace Music, Last.FM/Pandora and streaming of full albums online (like Britney Spears did with “Circus”).

So why stop the Beatles podcast

The Beatles comes under our agreement with IFPI, which says that we only can put up shows for download that were aired the latest four weeks, and where the music is less than 70% of the show’s length.

“Our daily Beatles” were aired in 2007 (not 2001 as we wrote yesterday), so we have to pull the podcast. If it was aired today, we could have podcasted the next four weeks within the agreement.

NRK is currently negotiating with the IFPI—their current agreement expired with the flip of the calendar to 2009—and it’s hoping that it can work something out, and not be “lame.” Hey, maybe if Michael Jackson dies they can talk to Paul McCartney about starting things up again! Or, wait, no, probably not.

Our daily Beatles podcast stopped [NRK]