Record labels took another shot to the gut Aug. 21, this time from the Second Circuit Court's ruling in Arista Records, et al. v. Launch Media. The court held that Yahoo's Launchcast wasn't an interactive service as defined by the Copyright Act.

Unfortunately, for labels, this means that one more potentially significant source of revenue has been dashed. Launchcast, as well as other similar Internet radio services like Pandora and Last.fm, must only pay the minimal statutory licensing fees set by the Copyright Royalty Board through SoundExchange to the owners of the recordings.

This ruling is well-reasoned despite the labels' sensible displeasure with it. But when coupled with the continuing failure of Congress to pass a Performance Rights Act, it makes it more important than ever for everyone in the music industry to work together to keep this a viable, profitable business.

When Congress enacted the first U.S. copyright law with the Copyright Act of 1790, it intended to establish an incentive for authors to share their works with the public by protecting their creations. Recall that Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to establish laws to promote the progress of science and useful arts. (Granted, it wasn't until 41 years later through the Act of 1831 that music was first recognized as a "useful art.") As the Internet became popular in the '90s, the recording industry quickly began publicizing its concern that existing copyright laws couldn't protect it from piracy.

Click here for the full opinion piece from Jason Turner, an attorney with Lassiter, Tidwell, Davis, Keller & Hogan in Nashville and an adjunct professor at Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business.