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musicFIRST FCC Petition Gains Broad Support September 12, 2009

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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A broad range of organizations, including the Property Rights Alliance, the National Consumers League, Free Press, the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFL-CIO), the Parents Television Council, The Recording Academy, the Music Managers Forum, the Institute for Policy Innovation, the American Association of Independent Music, and individual music managers have filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of the musicFIRST Coalition’s request that the FCC investigate radio broadcasters.

In comparison, only one organization not aligned with the broadcasting industry filed comments in support of broadcasters.

musicFIRST’s request to the commission details how radio stations across the country refuse to air musicFIRST ads, threaten artists who support the effort to create a fair performance right on radio and continue to run misleading ads produced by the National Association of Broadcasters — all in an effort to further their own private commercial interests at the expense of their public interest obligations.

musicFIRST asked the FCC to investigate these activities. musicFIRST also encouraged the FCC to consider reducing the radio broadcast license term, currently seven years, to hold broadcasters accountable for violations of their public interest obligations.

“We are grateful to have broad-based support from consumer, property rights and media advocacy organizations and the music community for an investigation of radio,” Bendall said.

“Broadcasters enjoy broad First Amendment rights, but they can’t punish artists for exercising their First Amendment rights, too.”

Broadcasters are taking these actions solely to further their own economic interests. It cannot be in the public interest for broadcasters to use a public resource in this manner.”

Irony was a pointed theme in comments filed by The Property Rights Alliance. The group told the commission that it supports the Performance Rights Act and then says about radio’s efforts to silence artists, “under current law, broadcasters should not boycott artists for joining a coalition, especially given the fact they are currently using the artists’ music for free.”

Free Press notes that “broadcasters are licensed to operate in the public interest – not pure self interest.”

“We respect a broadcaster’s right to oppose the Performance Rights Act. But we cannot tolerate broadcasters’ use of the public airwaves to stifle debate, threaten artists and musicians and undermine the public interest in pursuit of their narrow, private business interests.”

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