Pete.... like I said and has been said time and time again.... if someone is dead set on ripping your stream, they'll do it. I could very easily bring up your station on my production machine using something as simple as WinAmp and hit RECORD on COOL EDIT, and ta-dah, I'm ripping your stream. Now tell me, HOW are you going to stop me? You're not.
Exactly, this can't be avoided.
Maybe because my listener count is low, I'm seeing this more as a storm in a teacup. My stream is at 128mp3 which is fine for radio listening. When I have my station on at home, I'll always listen direct off the desk, rather then the stream, because my entire library is lossless WAVs. I can't stand the sound of mp3, it just sounds watery.
Stream rippers are already using second gen copies, as the music has been downsampled to mp3, and on top of that the quality of the soundcard also decides the quality of the rip. My music is crossfaded pretty tightly, and I often hop on air to do a live talk-up of an intro. I'll tell my listeners what's coming up, so my station always has a sense of anticipation.
Aside from what music I'm playing, I'm offering my listeners an experience that is unique to my station. So in this context I'm not to worried about rippers, these are usually scumbags that have too much time on there hands with nothing else to do - I couldn't imagine being so impoverished to such a low point where one has to do that to operate their station.
To me this is pretty much akin to my eating habits. I often have large meals during winter, but occasionally may throw some food out, because I couldn't finish it, or because the freshness is just not there. I'm an absolute freak when it comes to fresh fruit, if it's not right on, it goes into the bin. When I take my garbage bags out to the council bins, drop my garbage bag off, I can bet they'll be street people poking in and taking whatever left over food there is. There is nothing I can do to stop them, and to be honest, I couldn't be bothered. My life is to busy with other priorities to worry about this kind of stuff.