View Full Version : Legal usage of Skype for Broadcasting

03-21-2013, 06:29 AM
Hi all:

First time poster long time reader. I do internet radio, music mainly but will be doing interviews starting mid summer and will probably use Skype, but before signing up for Skypes broadcasting requirements I'm wondering how you long time casters have dealt with the Terms of Service and registration of Skype for your programs. Any pitfalls, issues?

Skype's legal usage info is here if you haven't seen it before



03-21-2013, 01:18 PM
Very interesting. so they want either a video branding or audio ID that you are using skype for the call. My question is.. How would they know you are using skype?

03-21-2013, 06:17 PM
Good Question Andrew. I just want to make sure I used it right so as not to get a fine or something worse. Maybe the only way is if I don't register LOL. It must be new, since MS bought out Skype perhaps? Come to think of it I've never seen anyone have a lower third in a vidcast, but I have heard on some audio (Terrestrial) broadcasts something like..."We're back talking to so and so on Skype.


03-21-2013, 06:22 PM
You can use TeamSpeak (the new version with the Opus Music codec) and transmit music in stereo with no Skype licensing requirement. You'll also have to have the latest version of the Opus server to support the clients.

03-21-2013, 07:03 PM
Thanks Mike. I'll give TeamSpeak a look over.


03-22-2013, 07:43 AM
Mike, maybe you could help out on this topic.. What are the odds of skype going after internet broadcasters?

03-22-2013, 07:53 AM
This is Alarming. Many internet broadcasters and podcasters depend on skype. If they start coming after podcasts it can be devastating

03-22-2013, 01:03 PM
I'm no lawyer, but I really don't see them doing anything about it. Think about the high profile podcasters out there that use it, including Andrew and Twit. If they did do something, they'd be shooting themselves in the foot as I'm quite sure that podcasters would start finding alternatives in droves. Piss off a community over your product and see how long it is before you no longer have anyone using it.

But, as I said, I'm not a lawyer. Just my .02 worth.

As a side note, I've used the beta Mumble client and server with the Opus codec and it works pretty well also. I believe I've also heard that the mumble team is looking at potentially adding video to their client in the future. But that could just be a rumor. Someone will come up with a solution that has both video and audio to compete with Skype. It always happens.

03-23-2013, 06:05 AM
Mike, maybe you could help out on this topic.. What are the odds of skype going after internet broadcasters?
I wonder if they have a different set of TOS for users who pay for their services.

03-23-2013, 03:10 PM
Amnon, I have not seen a different set of terms and conditions for paying users.

One broadcaster told me that his terrestrial radio station received an invoice from Skype for using the service for broadcasting purposes. He did not give me any other details. Is it likely that Microsoft will go after people who violate their terms of service? Only they can answer that question, but I do believe it is a real possibility.

Replacing audio-only Skype is now possible for non-group applications. Several SIP client developers are already supporting the Opus codec. Unfortunately, most SIP users are tin-eared and do not understand true wideband audio, so they are capping the maximum available bandwidth. Eventually, we may be able to persuade them to remove all caps and let us decide what bandwidth we want to consume. Then, we have to have a SIP provider that will support our selection.

There is a SIP client that may be able to do what we need. It's called Bria by CounterPath. Amnon and I tested it previously, and it did not meet our needs. There are newer versions that need to be evaluated. It's $50 per client, and I don't think that there is a free trial. We tested audio only.

For Computers 2K Now, since we're not HD, we could probably get away with using zoom.us for video. It's also possible that we could use one of the new services that supports HD video, like GoToMeeting. If Skype disappeared today, TeamSpeak could be used as an audio-only alternative. I've already done it. We did an episode of Rick's House using TeamSpeak with a server hosted by RadarGaming. The quality is very good. Since Mumble is open source, maybe we can get Donovan's son to learn to compile and configure a version that will do what we want. That's over my head, though.

People like Leo and Andrew have the biggest challenges since they need HD. There are some very expensive commercial solutions, but those solutions are out of reach of the average Internet broadcaster or podcaster.

The real question is, why hasn't Apple entered this market to compete with Microsoft? After all, if it's Apple, it just works. Right?

03-23-2013, 03:13 PM
For video, this is upcoming --


03-23-2013, 03:18 PM
And, yes, Tyler and I have been talking about adding video. I'm not sure he's ready for that challenge, though. He did write inSSIDer 2.0, but video is a big monster. :)

03-23-2013, 03:23 PM
Yes, but he is a wiz. You told me so. :)

03-23-2013, 03:24 PM
No doubt. He amazes me every day. :)

03-24-2013, 12:43 AM

03-25-2013, 09:41 AM
Very interesting. so they want either a video branding or audio ID that you are using skype for the call.

Just out of curiousity, what's wrong with keying their logo or "via Skype" on the screen somewhere CNN style? That shouldn't be too hard for those of you using a Tricaster or other video switching software. If that's all they're asking for in exchange for using it for free...

We've had a few guest hosts join us over the years via Skype. I always mentioned that they were on it somewhere during the show. I unknowingly was abidding by the rules it seems.

03-25-2013, 09:44 AM
I dont think there is anything wrong with having a "Via Skype" lower third. I actually think its a good idea to promote how your guests are coming in. With that said here is my question : Could this lead to licensing costs to use skype for non personal use

03-25-2013, 10:02 AM
That's a good question. I could see that happening. On our show, I very seldom use it, so it probably wouldn't be worth the fee for us. And depending on how much it theoretically would cost, I would likely just hold my cell phone up to the mic. :D

If they do eventually charge for using it commercially, it all goes back to your original question of how would they know? Perhaps they'd embed some high frequency hum undetectable to the human ear that only their computers could pick up. Or they might lock the 'audio out' options somehow until you buy a code to enable them. Or the audio/video quality and/or frame rate is reduced to where it's pretty much unusable until you pay to get full quality. I'm going to shut up now, don't want to give Microsoft too many ideas.

03-25-2013, 12:07 PM
Could this lead to licensing costs to use Skype for non personal use That was my initial fear when I started the thread and it also looks by the responses it is a VERY RECENT requirement by Skype. Your question Andrew about costs is what I'd like to know too as it is owned by Microsoft now and that could change things down the road for sure. Being Audio only, the requirements aren't as stringent by requiring graphics on your video podcasts, Streaming networks and live shows etc taking up screen real estate. Maybe you could get them to sponsor for having their logo on screen, but that's probably stretching it a bet eh?


03-25-2013, 12:22 PM
....it also looks by the responses it is a VERY RECENT requirement by Skype.

This predates M$ buying Skype .....

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