January 8, 2010

I recently saw this post by Mike Masnick over at TechDirt.com and it astonished me. As the article notes, a court has established that ringtones are not a public performance but what about ringback tones? (AKA: Caller Tunes) What's your opinion? 

BMI Sues T-Mobile, Claims It Needs To Pay Up Over Ringback Tones

from the are-ringbacks-a-public-performance? dept

I'm still in the camp of folks who doesn't quite understand "ringback tones" -- the ugly stepchild of ringtones, where it's not what music your phone plays, but what music a caller hears when they call you and are waiting for you to pick up. While ringbacks have been a big deal in Asia, they're still a relatively small market in the US. But, that's not going to stop collections societies from demanding cash, of course. mike allen alerts us to the news that BMI has sued T-Mobile over its ringback tones. Of course, here's the thing: a court has already established that ringtones are not performances, so are ringback tones performances? Or, of course, T-Mobile could just ban the use of any BMI songs as ringbacks, and then see how those artists feel about how BMI is "protecting" their interests...