Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

Posts in "Radio"

October 10, 2014

Friday Q&A: DiMA’s Gregory Alan Barnes

Greg Barnes photo 106x240 Friday Q&A: DiMAs Gregory Alan Barnes

Barnes (Source: Gregory Alan Barnes)

For the Digital Media Association, copyright’s a big issue. They represent online digital content distributors, including movies, music and books, and members include Apple, Amazon, Google (which owns YouTube), Pandora and Rhapsody.  Technocrat chatted with the group’s general counsel, Gregory A. Barnes, about the policy issues on his plate and more.

Q: On policy issues what’s on the front burner for you?

A: There’s a lot. Right now, as you may know, Copyright Office is conducting this comprehensive review of the Copyright Act. And so they’ve gone through two separate rounds of requests for comments and DiMA’s participated, basically indicating what aspects of the copyright law we think need to be updated.

We’re also working very closely, or at least monitoring, work that’s taking place right now within the Department of Justice. DOJ right now is looking at the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. We believe they’re going to make a decision whether they want to modify those consent decrees or keep them as they are today.

… That process is important to us because the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees dictate the terms at which my member companies license content from ASCAP and BMI.

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September 26, 2014

Weekly Recap: Comcast’s Merger Comments, Google on Data Localization & Jason Chaffetz

The week wraps up with the Federal Trade Commission’s 100-year birthday. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from this week in Washington and a few Technocrat posts from this week, in case you missed them.

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September 15, 2014

As Lawmakers Consider Potential Changes to Music Royalties, A Look at the Debates

As lawmakers are slowing building toward what could end up being a broad overhaul of music royalty structures, stakeholders — musicians, songwriter, publishers, Internet radio companies and terrestrial broadcasters — are all trying to make sure they don’t end up losing out, writes CQ Roll Call’s Rob Margetta.

In a story (subscription) this morning , Margetta lays out the policy debates surrounding a couple of specific issues, like the question of whether terrestrial  radio stations should pay royalties to artists.

“Probably the most controversial question at stake is whether lawmakers will end the decades-long practice of allowing AM and FM terrestrial radio stations to broadcast music without paying royalties to artists,” Margetta writes.

Artists’ groups and the recording industry argue that terrestrial radio stations are unfairly making money off of work they don’t pay for while the National Association of Broadcasters and others contend that their members can’t afford to pay for content they’ve traditionally used without paying those additional costs, Margetta writes.

Here’s some background: terrestrial radio stations pay royalties for the type of copyright that covers composers, songwriters or publishers, but they’ve long been exempted from paying for the second type of copyright typically attached to recorded songs – sound recording rights covering a specific version of a song by an artist. Margetta writes that before the Internet music revolution, that exemption was thought to be both a standard course of business and justified since songs played over the radio was thought to be advertisement for albums:

“The resulting popularity of radio has significantly contributed to a U.S. recording industry that is the envy of the world, both in terms of size and scope,” said Charles Warfield, joint board chairman for the National Association of Broadcasters, during an appearance before lawmakers this summer.

Now, however, artists and the groups that represent them say that free play for terrestrial radio doesn’t make sense. Foreign countries require terrestrial radio to pay royalties, but American copyright holders usually can’t access them because U.S. stations won’t reciprocate. And newer forms of radio, including cable, satellite and Internet stations, are required to pay royalties to artists. That last point, especially, gives lawmakers pause. Some lawmakers think the current system discourages new business and innovation.

Margetta adds: “Some lawmakers have expressed sympathy toward broadcasters, even as they’ve acknowledged there’s a discrepancy that Congress may address.”

September 4, 2014

Q&A With George Washington Law Professor John Banzhaf

George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf says he filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday opposing renewal of the license of radio station WWXX owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Technocrat talked with Banzhaf, who laid out why he filed the petition with the FCC and possible next steps.

The petition states that Banzhaf and others have been harmed by actions of the station, “especially its practice of repeatedly and unnecessarily using on the air an offensive derogatory racial slur referring to American Indians,” and that these actions aren’t consistent with the “station’s obligations under federal broadcast law to operate in the public interest, that it is akin to broadcasting obscenity, that it also amounts to profanity, and that such words amount to hate speech.”.

Below are excerpts of Technocrat’s talk with Banzahf (which has been edited for length):

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 12:42 p.m.
Radio

June 16, 2014

T Bone Burnett on Pre-’72 Royalties, Digital Music Services, and the Question of Fairness

188045788 424x335 T Bone Burnett on Pre 72 Royalties, Digital Music Services, and the Question of Fairness

Burnett at a premiere of “Inside Llewyn Davis” in Hollywood in November. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Films)

In the fight over royalty payments by digital music services for pre-1972 recordings, are digital music services doing harm or are they the ones being treated unfairly? In a Roll Call Guest Observers piece, musician, songwriter and producer T Bone Burnett argues that it’s the musicians who are the little guy and that digital music services are biting the hand that feeds them.

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June 9, 2014

Songwriter Groups Have a Little Advice About Consent Decrees

Among the various issues at tomorrow’s  House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on music licensing will be the question of whether and how the Justice Department should modify its decades-old consent decrees with performing rights organizations.

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 4:29 p.m.
Entertainment, Radio

May 7, 2014

Paul Williams on Music Royalty Policies

486402937 445x313 Paul Williams on Music Royalty Policies

Williams at the 2014 ASCAP Pop Music Awards. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Grammy/Oscar/Golden Globe winner Paul Williams, who also happens to be president and chairman of the board of performance-rights organization ASCAP, writes in a commentary piece for Roll Call today that he and other members of the group (including Randy Newman and Carly Simon) will be in Washington this week “to help policymakers understand why we must modernize our music licensing system” in the age of Pandora, Spotify and ubiquitous mobile devices.

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