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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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August 12, 2009

"Civil Rights for Musicians Act " Fight Gets Nastier (and More Confusing)

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Music First Coalition logo
A friendly Copyfight reader sent me a pointer to V. Dion Haynes' story in the Washington Post covering the next round in the fight over this bill. The article highlights claims by the MusicFirst Coalition that, among other actions, radio stations have been refusing to run ads supporting the legislation. Notably, the accusation is made against Radio One stations. Radio One, you may recall, made a splash a few weeks ago by pleading poverty and arguing that having to compensate artists would put them out of business.

First, I want to acknowlege the comment made in this blog by Christopher, an owner of a small radio station. It's pretty clear that small radio stations are struggling, like many small businesses. The question is whether the bill contains the claimed exemptions for small stations and whether mega-conglomerates like Radio One are also struggling or whether they're simply using people like Christopher as shields.

The FCC is reviewing the complaints against the radio stations that refused to run the ads, and promises there will be a public comment period during the review, but no timeline is mentioned. Meanwhile the Post's article gives a hint of some of the confusion surrounding the issue - Radio One is reporting some revenue gains, but also a signficant drop in ad dollars. They're also claiming that the bill would result in job losses - but isn't that always the claim made when people want more money for things?

Finally, in a moment of amusing irony, I note that among Music First's sponsors are the noted Cartel bright boys, the RIAA. Maybe broadcast radio should have come to the aid of Web radio when the Cartel leaned on them, eh?

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. Peter on August 16, 2009 8:54 AM writes...

So Dionne Warwick (and Nancy Sinatra before her) were all in favor of this bill. But there is only federal copyright protection for performances recorded since 1972 and for any performance recorded abroad. That means even if the law is passed, there would be no royalties paid on older US songs.

Is this a sneaky way of forcing every American radio station to play nothing but Beach Boys and Elvis?

And don't you think that the legislation will simply force ASCAP royalty rates to drop so that the performers (or, let's be honest, their record companies) can get paid?

Permalink to Comment

2. BlindSniper on January 20, 2010 12:38 PM writes...

You know what, buy Bluetooth blocker to disable all secret instruments in your room or office.

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