This American Life Doesn’t Get It

Jon Udell posts this very disappointing exchange between himself and the webmaster at This American Life. In a nutshell, TAL is asserting that Jon is violating their copyright by publishing an RSS feed that points to MP3s that they themselves host. This is exactly the same thing I’m doing with the WREK feeds I host. In my case, I have a close relationship with WREK (they recently put me and several alumni on a plaque honoring our service to the stations) so I can’t see them doing the same thing to me.

I wish WBEZ was still my local affiliate to which I was a donor. I’d write them a note of disappointment as a member. I will still write that note, but with a more tenuous relationship. Public radio wants to be perceived as different than commercial radio. If that’s their desire, getting legal and cease-and-desistish on people for linking back to their own files is the wrong way to do it. It’s absurd on a technical level, and dickheaded on a common sense and moral level. I’m slowly ceasing to think of the organization as “public radio” (in the sense of us all being in it together) and instead thinking them as another form of “corporate radio” (where the corporation is the CPB).

Really, who needs that anymore? I’ve been a deep supporter of and even a participant in public radio as an independent producer in my life, and even I am becoming an antagonist of them. Folks, when you are antagonistic to your supporters you create antagonism. As Colbert says, “You are (this close to being) dead to me.”

Thanks to EGC reader/listener Ken for the heads up on this issue.

Update: Now they’ve even asked him to take down the blog post cited above talking about the takedown notice. To me, that just compounds the cluelessness further and works me into more of a lather than I originally had. When I send them my email, I will post the text as a blog post.