CBC Demands Removal of Mac Radio App

The CBC has asked Apple to remove a third party radio app that streams CBC radio. The comments stream feature an interesting discussion on both sides of the issue.


  1. Well…
    Because the radio app is specifically targeting CBC and not just taking radio streams from all Canadian radios, it is probably infringing (note I am no lawyer).

    Not that CBC aren’t retards with their copy”rights”.

  2. It appears that initially this was a trademark infringement that has now become a media circus because the developer has gone to the media instead of handling it with CBC directly. Why he thinks he should get a fast response is beyond me, 2 weeks is not unreasonable. His intentions might have been innocent but he is making it into a bigger mess now. It amazes me why people feel the need to fight things out in public before exhausting calmer, private approaches.

  3. 2 Weeks IS an unreasonable time to wait for a response to email or a telephone call. That should come within a day – we’re not in the last century anymore.

    That aside, it seems as though CBC’s lawyers don’t understand that while it was reasonable for them to object to the developer using CBC logos and trademarks, he is no longer doing so. Instead, all he has a a way to receive CBC streams.

    What CBC is saying, unfortunately, because their lawyers seem to be incompetent, is that they want to choose which receiver people use to receive CBC on, and that isn’t on.

  4. Reading through the comments, there are a lot of people that seem to be confused between the content and the app.

    The lawyers seem to be confused as well, or perhaps they are still working on the assumption that the app is displaying trademarked logos and identification specific to CBC.

    To compound the issue, the app started off by infringing CBC trademarks. That is a no-no, and the author should have done a bit more research before he released it.

    From a functional perspective, the developer could have been selling a physical radio minus a general tuner, with only a series of buttons to select “which” CBC station to tune into. There is no “content infringement” involved with such a device, but if it carried CBC trademarks they would be considered infringing.

    There best suggestions are to get his local MP involved. Admit his mistakes, but at the same time clarify exactly what the issues are. At the very least, the local MP might learn something about copyright, copyright policies, and copyright abuse.

  5. Well, this is an interesting Kettle of fish …
    No doubt that the initial app, using CBC trademarks, was infringing and thus should have been removed. Having said that we now are at an interesting situation. The simple and obvious comparison is an app that receives a free radio stream is just like a physical receiver doing the same.

    Should he charge for the app or not?

    Well if you buy a radio to receive free signals you would pay for it.

    Does the app have any value apart from CBC’s content?

    Well, I suppose if it only plays CBC streams then it would be useless if CBC stopped broadcasting. But then so would a physical radio that only tuned to a single frequency.

    What then is the value of the app’s price?

    The value is the convenience features it offers and the effort to design it.

    Does the type of content it accesses matter?

    Yes I think it does, but as CBC is a public broadcaster with a mandate to provide open and easy access to it’s content then it should not put out impediments to that mandate.

    Would it make a difference if the App were free?

    Hard to say. Is CBC upset because the app developer is making money ‘of their back’ or is it a matter of controlling how their content is accessed. As any old browser can access their streams then this seems unlikely.

    So where does that leave us? It seems we have a case of lost goodwill with the original infringement and of lawyers who do not understand the nuances of current technology. Hmm, that sounds strikingly familiar.

  6. As long as CBC uses public money…
    They are not entitled to copyright, as far as I’m concerned.

  7. @Bob Smits
    To me two weeks sounds like the person that he sent the email to was on vacation.

    And before you respond about vacation notices, etc, at one company (of about 800 people at the time) that I used to work at, their ISP forced them to stop issuing vacation notices and “no such account” notices to external addresses or risk having their contract terminated. The notices were still issued internally. Apparently the problem was that the ISP was being hammered with emails where the sender was constructing email addresses like “aaaaa”, “aaaab”, “aaaac”, etc and sending emails to try to mine the email directory.

  8. @Gregg
    There are two schools of thought on your comment that I have seen.

    1) As the CBC uses public money, they don’t get to charge for their broadcasts since we’ve already paid for them.
    2) The CBC does generate advertising revenue. If they were to generate more by way of enforcing copyright, they could reduce their dependence on the public teat.

    These concepts are mutually exclusive.

  9. Strange attitudes to copyright
    All other issues aside I find it fascinating that the majority feeling is: selling the app for a one time fee but streaming unaltered content, the equivalent of selling a radio, is “wrong”, while giving the app away for free and monetizing on ads, a clear case of repackaging and profiting off the content, is “right”.

    No wonder copyright is in such a mess.

  10. Isn’t CBC mandate to reach as much Canadian audience as possible. If they want to restrict the audience based on the brand and model of the ‘receiver’ they can use then the whole board should be fired with cause early on Monday morning.