This is unbelievable. I contacted WNYC (the NYC public radio station) this morning because the program I've used for years to listen to their streams (Flip4Mac) stopped working. They asked me to call them with the details, and when I did, the nice man I spoke to said he'd talk to their digital team and get the situation fixed.

Well, I just got an email in response. Apparently it wasn't a bug—they intentionally disabled support for that plug-in, because it's "pirating". (Their word.) You see, this program lets me pause the stream and then restart it again from where I left off, rewind, fast-forward, etc.—you know, like a TiVo. That, apparently, is piracy.

(Piracy. Of public radio. Supported by pledge dollars. Which I dutifully pledged every year! The irony here is making my hair hurt.)

They're apparently unaware of the 1984 Sony v. Universal decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that time-shifting is fair use and definitely not piracy.

The funny thing is, I upped my yearly contribution to them substantially last year, so I contacted their fancy high-contributor "producer circle" office with my problem, expecting it was a misconfiguration that would be dealt with quickly. Instead, I got an email telling me that I was a pirate. They helpfully suggested that, in the future, if I get interrupted while listening to the live stream via one of their blessed non-piratey methods, instead of pausing, I might come back hours later once they've posted audio archives and search out what I'd missed.

How about this instead: I listen to one of the other stations on the Internet that don't think I'm a pirate? I'm sure one of them will be happy to take my money.

+Jeff Jarvis: One for your "ways old media is screwing themselves" file.
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