Valuing Music

In the NY Times, Billy Bragg suggests that the social networking sites that have developed their audiences by hosting music should have to consider paying royalties for that music: The Royalty Scam

In our discussions, we largely ignored the elephant in the room: the issue of whether he ought to consider paying some kind of royalties to the artists. After all, wasn’t he using their music to draw members — and advertising — to his business? Social-networking sites like Bebo argue that they have no money to distribute — their value is their membership. Well, last week Michael Birch realized the value of his membership. I’m sure he’ll be rewarding those technicians and accountants who helped him achieve this success. Perhaps he should also consider the contribution of his artists.

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington suggests that recorded music has no value and that artists should be happy to be able to take advantage of free hosting. These Crazy Musicians Still Think They Should Get Paid For Recorded Music

Recorded music is nothing but marketing material to drive awareness of an artist. Websites that bring that music to listeners are doing artists a favor. In fact, they’re doing them a favor that they should (and will) be paid for. Young artists and songwriters in particular benefit from these services – Until a few years ago they had almost no way to break into the mainstream without getting a label to promote them. Now those walls are being torn down, and Bragg has the audacity to complain about it. (via pho): These crazy bloggers still think they understand the music business “While Bragg makes some interesting points, I disagree with him. Musicians and labels that upload their music to social networks ostensibly know what they’re doing and understand that there is no agreement for royalties.”
Why shouldn’t songwriters and recording artists ally in order to host music only on social networking sites that agree to pay royalties?

FCC Redefines Broadband

At, Anne Broache reports that the FCC will be tracking broadband with more precision and re-defining the lower limits of ‘broadband,’ FCC approves new method for tracking broadband’s reach:

  • 200Kbps speeds are no longer considered ‘broadband.’
  • Broadband service speeds will have to be reported both for uploads and downloads.
  • Upload and download speeds will have to be reported in a more specific way.
  • ISPs will be required to report numbers of subscribers, and at the census-block level.
  • ISPs will not have to report the prices they charge….yet.

The order is not yet available on the Commission’s web site, but the minimum speed considered broadband will be now 768 kbps instead of 200.

Court Grants Cert in FCC v. Fox

On Monday, the Supreme Court granted cert and agreed to review the Second Circuit’s ruling in Fox v. FCC, 06-1760-ag, that the Commission’s policy sanctioning “fleeting expletives” is arbitrary and capricious.
FCC v. Fox Docket.
The Government’s Cert Petition asks The Court to review “whether the court of appeals erred in striking down the Federal Communications Commission’s determination that the broadcast of vulgar expletives may violate federal restrictions on the broadcast of ‘any obscene, indecent, or profane language,’ 18 U.S.C. 1464; see 47 C.F.R. 73.3999, when the expletives are not repeated.”
Federal Communications Commission & USA V. Fox Television Stations, Inc. Et Al., No. 07-582 (S.Ct) Reply Brief for Petitioners
Statements by Commissioners Copps and Tate.
Will this result in a decision that proscribes the scope of indecency regulation permissible by the First Amendment? Will the Court take this as an opportunity to promote speech or to promote the Commission’s authority to continue to regulate speech that is disfavored by the Commissioners?
The Onion imagines a slightly different standard for defining indecency– one with which I’m sure no one would have a problem:

FCC Okays Nudity On TV If It’s Alyson Hannigan

Motley Crew Testifies at House Net Neutrality Hearing

Today at 2:00 EDT, The Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force will hold a Hearing on Net Neutrality and Free Speech on the Internet.

Damian Kulash
Lead Vocalist and Guitarist
Michele Combs
Vice President of Communications
Christian Coalition of America
Rick Carnes
Songwriters Guild of America
Caroline Fredrickson
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
Christopher S. Yoo
Professor of Law and Communication and Director
Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Susan P. Crawford
Visiting Associate Professor of Law
Yale Law School

It will be webcast live (which I will miss while I’m on a plane sxsw-bound.)