Date 16 Oct 2000
Here's my response to a few e-mails today about FolkScene; feel free to pass it on. Thanks for your concern about FolkScene. I'm also a longtime listener and it saddens me that the Larmans will not continue their show on KPFK.
KPFK made every attempt to resolve the problem with Roz and Howard, including an offer to try mediating our differences through a neutral professional mediator, which they flatly refused. Their decision is truly regrettable; we wanted FolkScene to continue on KPFK.
The issue is simple: Listener-sponsored KPFK is a non-profit, non-commercial institution and has the right to say our facilities may not be used for personal profit or commercial enterprise without our permission. The Larmans refuse to agree to this policy.
Some background: KPFK already agreed to two FolkScene CDS (that profited the Larmans) and we are completely open to future projects. Unfortunately, the Larmans now contend they don't need KPFK's permission to commercially exploit live recordings or other tapes made in KPFK facilities. It would be irresponsible for KPFK to allow this to occur.
Our primary concern is not royalties, (which are nominal, at best) but a critical issue of copyright liability and protecting KPFK from lawsuits. Compared to the Larmans, KPFK is the "rich" entity and any legal claim about something recorded here would surely target us. So if commercial deals aren' t subject to KPFK approval, we can't properly protect the station from legal and financial risk.
More than a hundred KPFK staff, programmers and volunteers readily agreed to this policy because it was designed to protect the station. It's a shame -- and unfortunate for listeners -- that the Larmans won't even minimally compromise their own commercial interests to help protect KPFK.
Perhaps you can convince the Larmans to reconsider their decision; either way, I hope you continue to support the important mission of KPFK.