In our many threads about royalty and copyright obligations nothing has been said about "Fair Use".
In it's simplest form "fair use" is intended to provide a reasonable no-cost way for scholars to mention and quote from copyrighted material as part of building a paper documentation.
Carried to the radio world it provides a means by which a non-commercial program can be assembled which has an educative purpose.
But in practice a claim of "fair use" of copyrighted materials can be challenged and become as costly to defend as outright avoidance of royalty payments.
The burden of proof lays with the "fair-user" to convince a court that such use is legitimate in a particular case.
An example being studied at KDX is provided by the daily news program "Democracy Now". The main host, Amy Goodman, selects music clips from standard works that underscore the theme or tone of a story, but which otherwise would require royalty payment. I'm guessing that the program is using the music under "fair use", but even if that's their intent, does it protect affiliate stations from a claim of royalty abuse?
Let's take another example, abstract but possible... suppose a program depicting "thunderstorms in classical music" were prepared along educational lines... music from William Tell by Rossini, the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven, the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss, the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe... music with distinct storm scenes. Is it Fair Use?
The word "Use" is crystal clear but the other word "Fair" is not.