[FMC] Music Policy 101

Michael Bracy Policy Director, Future of Music Coalition (moderator)
Fred Cannon Senior VP, Government Relations, BMI
Mike Godwin Legal Director, Public Knowledge
Rebecca Greenberg National Director, Recording Artists’ Coalition
Mike Mills Bass player, R.E.M.
Hal Ponder Director of Government Relations, AFM
Johanna Shelton Democratic Counsel, US House Energy and Commerce Committee
with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein staying on.
Greenberg: RAC is interested in musicians want to realize the value in their copyrights for themselves.

Godwin:
Thought Grokster turned out with the best result that anyone could ask for. Worryed that the Court would outlaw P2P technology in general. Technologists worry that outlawing P2P would outlaw the internet. At the PFF Aspen Summit, Pam Samuelson thought that the decision in Grokster was very good.
Public Knowledge has also worked to fight the broadcast flag. The flag would put the FCC in a position to completely regulate technology and be a gatekeeper for a whole sector of the economy. Now dealing with Congress to stop broadcast flag legislation.
RIAA is seeking content protection for digital radio. Digital radio is a nice, not revolutationary improvement. Digital radio is still lower quality than a CD. An MP3 at 128kbps is better sound quality than digital radio. Some part of the music industry sees this as an opportunity to authorize the FCC to put copy controls in place for recording stuff of radio broadcasts. That would be bad for consumers, general public and musicians, too. Don’t necessarily want recording equipment to be turned against you.

Cannon:
There is a positive model out there: BMI, ASCAP, SESAC. We make money for creators and are growing and continuing to grow. We’re being attacked by other organizations in the industry who are trying to take the PRO’s piece of the pie.
on a Federal level, probably need to streamline licensing and reform it. There’s a pie out there that’s not going to grow, so it’s going to be your royalties that are affected. Beware, beware, beware.

Ponder: The value of copyright is very valuable to AFM members and that
Performance rights is totally inequitable that songwriters get royalties while musicians get none. This inequity has increased since DMCA since 1995 which imposes a compulsory license on digital streaming, but not on traditional radio.
Cannon: We can make the pie bigger. Labels get bulk of the digital download (iTunes) price. Songwriters get nothing. Unhappy with AOL giving away music that creates commercial value for AOL, but not for songwriters.
Mills: Um, without songwriters there are no songs. Without performers there is no music. Of course, in REM, we do both ourselves, so the revenue streams are fungible, but they both have to be there.
Adelstein: FCC is trying to enhance the transition from analog to digital– stations can do 3 digital stations in the same bandwidth it takes for one analog station.
Shelton: A number of calls that 2 major pieces of law are out of date: Copyright Act and Communications Act. So, this brings up the question of what is fair? Things have shaken out in court with Brand X and Grokster, and now there are discussions going on among the stakeholders, among the committees. Some of these issues are difficult for Members of Congress to figure out because there are so many different interests around as well as quickly changing tech. Very conscious making things future-proof and not having to redo things every time a new technology comes along.
Audience: Will payola investigation hit satellite radio, too?
Adelstein: Doesn’t see why not. Sat. radio is broadcast, so regs apply. This is unlike indecency, which doesn’t apply to sat. radio, because sat. radio is a subscription service.
Cannon: Going back to innovation and tech, remember that music drives technology.
Godwin: Technology development drives music, too. [For example, album format comes from tech limitations of the LP.] Don’t want to create a policy that shuts doors to technological innovation. Public Knowledge worries that many of the ideas may stifle technological innovation.
Greenberg: Technology and artistic creators are not mutually exclusive. Can develop means to pay artists, and “we don’t think they’re asking too damn much.” Like the ideas that allow creators to decide how their music is used.
Just about out of battery, so that’s it for this session…