Why The Beatles WFDU.fm HD2 Show Is No Longer on This Site

My understanding, perhaps incorrect, is that because the radio show aired and is archived for streaming on a radio station that is a signatory to the licensing agreement that allows music to be played on the radio and streamed on the Internet in the first place, that it would be legal for me to put the show on Soundcloud and allow you to hear it.

However, the All Beatles show and only that show has been removed from my Soundcloud account and therefore it has disappeared as well from analogplanet.com.

Here is the message I received from Soundcloud:

"Hi Michael Fremer,

We’ve received a report directly from Universal Music Group that your track "Analogplanet Radio's All Beatles WFDU HD2 Radio Show" contains "THE BEATLES (WHITE)" by BEATLES. As a result, your track has been removed from your profile for the time being."

Certainly no one else has had a problem with this for the past six or so months since all of the other shows remain on Soundcloud and on analogplanet.

Of course on a personal and not legal note, all we are trying to do here is get people to BUY physical content, but I understand that is not a legal issue.

In any case, I have appealed this to Soundcloud, which will appeal this to UMG. The worst that will happen is that they will now sue me for my terrible transgression, or hopefully, they will lift the ban either because what I did was not illegal or because they might be willing to grant a waiver or whatever might be necessary for me to continue posting my radio shows (for which I receive no compensation).

I'm afraid though, I'm being naive.

foxhall's picture

During your stay in prison I predict you will create a new system of commerce based on trading LPs.

xtcfan80's picture

Unreal....You can't make this stuff up. As if having more people listening to The Beatles (esp. in the highest quality vinyl)would hurt their sales.

azmoon's picture

The corporate clowns act up again. Probably the same ones who derailed MFSL from the great Sinatra remaster series and started putting out junk in it's place.

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

Do prisons have radio stations, now that would be cool!

It is a known fact that easiest person to put in prison is an honest one!

James, Dublin, Ireland

soundman45's picture

Unfortunately It's not really UMG it's the Beatles. They are the most policed copyright wise musical act on the internet period.
They are probably trying to make up for all the monies lost when they were together.

Anton D's picture

Maybe instead of pressing license plates, they can hook you up with Chad and you can press records!

I think where you went wrong was using pressing number 0441033.

In all seriousness, if you Google that number, the first result you get will be for a patent of that number regarding solid state track recorders.....not TUBE track recorders.

Big boo boo there, Mike.

Try it again with a different pressing, but check out the numerologic implications first!


RubenH's picture

24601, it would probably be a good idea as well to not post its picture.

transfers's picture
gulf1263's picture

Their legal department probably doesn't have anyone who has even heard a Beatles album in it's entirety. If they don't have tats how can they be musicians?

bkinthebk's picture

I'm picturing something like this happening, but with Happiness is a Warm Gun


VirginVinyl's picture

Have someone in your family repost it when it becomes public domain.

mediageek's picture

Mixcloud is designed for DJ sets, covers the music performance royalties, and is free. You should have no problem hosting your shows there.

I don't think it permits downloading, but there's an embeddable player.

Krisbee's picture

I believe they have scanning software that just "listens" for any of their artists music and automatically generate a cease and desist. Happens all the time online - heck, I got a flag for a yotube video for background music at a Disney firework show I had shot as part of vacation video. I think for The Beatles, they actually crawl the web, too.

PAR's picture

I am also afraid so. UMG will not be in a position to give you permission to use The Beatles tracks. They will own certain rights via their contractual arrangements but not so as to cover every contingency and certainly not for exploitation in media that have come into existence after the Beatles were contracted (subject to copyright provisions in the territory concerned).

So UMG would have to approach the Beatles representatives or The Beatles/deceased group members' estates. Will they do this for your show? Remember the default position for just about all novel requests to use rights in the record business is "no" unless a clear financial advantage can be seen.

Michael Fremer's picture
Since these radio shows are legal because the station pays royalties like all radio stations do. and archives the shows for replay, the royalty is covered even if the show is embedded in another location. That is what I am claiming. We'll see what is the response!
PAR's picture

The arrangments between the record companies or music publishers and radio stations are usually on a collective basis where the owner licenses the requisite rights in its whole repertoire to the broadcaster for a specific purpose. The question is , what is the repertoire? Certain recordings or musical works may superfically appear to be part of the licensed repertoire as they appear on products issued by the licensor. However in many cases these properties are themsleves are only licensed in turn from another party e.g. the artist. Such licenses may only relate to certain limited activities such as the manufacture and retail of records containing the works.

I would confidently expect that the Beatles recordings are either owned by or licensed to UMG for the purposes of traditional pressing and distribution and, possibly, broadcasting (i.e. not streaming or narrowcasting). That is why the licence that the broadcaster has probably does not include the rights you need. The broadcsster does not have them from the record company which itself does not own them.

BTW, I spent much of my working life dealing with licensing these rights on behalf of the record companies here in the UK to our broadcasters. I acknowledge that there are certain legislative differences in the USA, but unfortunately I am not optimistic for you as the only party who can give the authorisation that you need are most likely the Beatles/their estates themselves.

thomoz's picture

UMG is going nuts, just on the Beatles' catalog. I had a playlist of links to full lp rips of most of their albums (no rips posted by me, not that it matters) but all the videos have been blocked or taken down just since November or so. It seemed to happen right before they showed up on Spotify and other pay-to-stream services.

Rudy's picture

Some of the labels and especiall, some of the artists are predatory in how they go after copyright infringers. You likely received an automated notice. As for SoundCloud, I uploaded a sound clip for one of my sites (a comparison between two different A&M LP pressings of a single album) and immediately, I received an automated notice identifying the portion of the first song I had compared. They use some sort of fingerprinting technology that identifies tracks based on its "wave pattern" (if that makes sense). I only wanted to use SoundCloud to save us some bandwidth.

Yet, I can put some of my needledrop tracks on YouTube and they are left alone. We did that for a holiday feature we were running. It's more of a pain to composite one together, though, as you need something video-related, even a still image, before it will upload. Still, you're going to hit that roadblock with Beatles since they are quite predatory about enforcing their copyright.

Michael Fremer's picture
Since YouTube has become among the most popular music destinations, Google is paying into the same royalty structure radio stations do that allows them to play music. I think that is why all of my YouTube videos of ripped vinyl remain up though they say "contains copyrighted material".
Rudy's picture

They are paying royalties, which is actually win/win for them, since they have millions of users "creating" the content for them. I know there are still some artists who issue take-down notices. Prince has been one of those. Even when some users have their own private code for uploaded bootlegs, they are still quickly discovered and removed. (And I have no problem with that--it is up to the artist how they want their creations distributed.)

As for what I uploaded, a couple of them are so obscure that YouTube couldn't likely find a match for them anyway. ;)

The same might not apply for video uploads though. I had found some ancient TV footage of the first Yellowjackets appearance at Montreux (right after they formed) from Switzerland, and I edited it into two parts to get around the old time limitation. No sooner do I upload one when I get a message saying this is "similar" to copyrighted material, and, do I have permission to upload it? Despite my uploading this via the official Yellowjackets account. It "stuck" and nobody has asked us to take it down, but this video wasn't uploaded elsewhere...so I have no idea what YouTube used to identify the video. If I upload a Warner Bros. cartoon on the other hand, it is deleted automatically within minutes.

thomoz's picture

I created true-stereo-all-the-way versions of "I Am The Walrus" and a stereo-with-sound-effects-and-overdubs-restored "Baby You're A Rich Man" and placed these on youtube to share them with people and they were deleted without warning or my knowledge. I just discovered it today.

The names of the files identified them as Beatles tracks, that might have helped the label find them to pull them down.

Superfuzz's picture

As you mentioned, WFDU pays the appropriate license fees for both broadcasting, and web archiving/streaming. Soundcloud does not. Case closed.
Your sentence is to go play your original UK Beatles pressings on a Crosley.

TommyTunes's picture

The reason it was taken down is very simple, what you did was compare different masterings of Beatles recordings. This potentially shows that an earlier version may sound better than the current "in store" release. UMG doesn't want this, with the Beatles the latest available is the only version, history doesn't exist.

my new username's picture

If they're already paying for the legal right, why aren't they hosting the files themselves, instead of Soundcloud or whatever other site that's always going to be at the mercy of the stupid and corrupt DMCA?

The way this is done is to sign up with Amazon Web Services or someone who will host, and then pay the corresponding ISP some more cash.

I've been bingeing on your shows Michael, trying to catch up, and really enjoying them in a way I haven't enjoyed *radio* in far too long. Glad to hear you're obviously having fun on-air; transcribing LPs, sequencing them and then sharing a few words about what everyone is about to hear is every music geek's dream if you ask me. TRUST ME, I GET IT. I've also wondered how you've been able to do this legally and now the reality is that you can't. It's just a matter of time until whomever decides to shut it down, under the auspices of copyright.

That little Teaneck student station is non-profit and likely working on a shoestring budget. But just talk to them and see what it would take. Share your Soundcloud listener/bandwidth numbers if you have them in order to help them gauge expenses.

I'm a former archivist (of newspapers, back when people bought newspapers ...) and this is important.