Why Is The FCC Even Giving The Time Of Day To RIAA's Bogus Radio Witchhunt?

from the waste-of-resources dept

Earlier this year, MusicFirst, a lobbying group that is run by the RIAA and pushing for a special tax on radio stations for daring to promote songs, came out with its latest in a long list of bizarre claims, demanding that the FCC investigate the fact that radio stations were supposedly boycotting musicians who supported the Performance Royalty tax. There were numerous problems with this claim. First, we thought it was rather hypocritical of MusicFirst to demand that radio stations play these artists, when it was the very same MusicFirst that was also claiming that radio was “a kind of piracy” for playing the music of these very same artists without paying a performance tax.

So, apparently if a radio station does play these artists, it’s piracy. If it doesn’t play these artists, it requires an FCC investigation.

Beyond that, MusicFirst failed to note that many of the artists topping the charts (including the Black Eyed Peas, who topped the charts at the time) were some of the most outspoken artists in favor of this tax. If there was some big conspiracy to not play these artists on the radio, someone forgot to tell… well… pretty much every radio station around.

That highlighted the third problem: MusicFirst didn’t happen to point to any radio station that actually did this. The only one that could be dug up was a small high school radio station that had publicly boycotted artists supporting such a tax (which would have shut down the radio station), but only did so for one month and that month happened two years ago, and was a clearly supported expression of free speech.

And that brings up the final point. The recording industry has no right to demand that radio stations play certain artists. A radio station is free to play whatever artists they wish and run whatever commercial they wish. This is a pure free speech issue, and it’s quite troubling that the recording industry is targeting radio stations when they have no right over this.

Based on all of this, you would hope that the FCC would simply laugh off the petition… but tragically, it’s opened up a consultation on the matter and is asking for public input (found via Michael Scott). The article linked here goes through all of the First Amendment questions raised by this, and notes (thankfully) that the FCC seems to recognize those issues as well. But, if that’s the case, why even bother holding this investigation in the first place?

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Companies: fcc, musicfirst, riaa, soundexchange

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Comments on “Why Is The FCC Even Giving The Time Of Day To RIAA's Bogus Radio Witchhunt?”

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30 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“First, we thought it was rather hypocritical of MusicFirst to demand that radio stations play these artists, when it was the very same MusicFirst that was also claiming that radio was “a kind of piracy” for playing the music of these very same artists without paying a performance tax.”

Are you sure you have understood the word “hypocritical” ? (see here http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hypocritical)

inc (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Seems to me as though the use is correct. Seeing as they are contradicting their stated beliefs. I believe the reference below is a bit more reputable.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocritical

* Main Entry: hyp·o·crit·i·cal
* Pronunciation: ˌhi-pə-ˈkri-ti-kəl
* Function: adjective
* Date: 1561
: characterized by hypocrisy; also : being a hypocrite

* Main Entry: hyp·o·crite
* Pronunciation: ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit
* Function: noun
* Etymology: Middle English ypocrite, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin hypocrita, from Greek hypokritēs actor, hypocrite, from hypokrinesthai
* Date: 13th century

1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Question

Is there a list of the parent companies of MusicFirst and the RIAA somewhere? FYI, I can’t get to the RIAA websites at work, but I’m going to check there later.

Because my suspicion is that with the consolidation of entertainment/news/broadcast media that occurred over the past 50 years this is all a pointless academic question from the standpoint of the radio station anyway, since both sides of this issue are probably owned by the same corporations and/or banks.

Which, as per usual, means that they’re just finding ways of trading money back and forth with each other as a way to invent reasons to take even MORE money from the artist.

kirillian (profile) says:

Re: Question

We will be sending you legal notice soon for your company’s blocking of our websites. We require that you always allow traffic to our web pages and block all content from any possibly infringing website, or any website that discusses such said infringing activity or advocates free-speech, consumer rights, or any other sort of rights of the individual.

We will be sending out notices to our puppet congressmen about your blatant refusal to heed these expectations and will, furthermore, be seeing you soon in court.

Notice, all our web domains require a daily subscription fee of $100 per individual in your organization. Failure to visit our website at least once per day will be prosecuted to the fullest extent that we can stretch the DMCA (if it doesn’t work, be warned…DMCA 2.0 is coming!)

kirillian (profile) says:

Re: Question

We will be sending you legal notice soon for your company’s blocking of our websites. We require that you always allow traffic to our web pages and block all content from any possibly infringing website, or any website that discusses such said infringing activity or advocates free-speech, consumer rights, or any other sort of rights of the individual.

We will be sending out notices to our puppet congressmen about your blatant refusal to heed these expectations and will, furthermore, be seeing you soon in court.

Notice, all our web domains require a daily subscription fee of $100 per individual in your organization. Failure to visit our website at least once per day will be prosecuted to the fullest extent that we can stretch the DMCA (if it doesn’t work, be warned…DMCA 2.0 is coming!)

Jake says:

I have to disagree with you on this. No government agency can outright ignore a petition like this, however ludicrous; it can’t even be seen to do so, because that just hands the petitioner a propaganda victory when they take their sob story to the media. Going through a proper public consultation arms the FCC with facts to hold up, and will hopefully enable them to bury the issue for good when MusicFirst are proven beyond reasonable doubt to be full of shit.

rwahrens (profile) says:

Jake is right

Even if a case is obvious, the government will take it an investigate it, because that gets the case ON THE RECORD and sets a precedent.

That means that any future cases like it don’t need a full investigation, but can then be dismissed simply through reference.

A case may SEEM open and shut, but until it is examined in full, by people that know the subject, one never knows. A full and open investigation will expose any unusual aspects of the case, and will fully document it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Part of this is a question of freedom of speech for the artists covered by the RIAA agreements: Effectively, is their right to the airwaves being blocked because of an affiliation?

Ignoring the players for a second, would you consider it fair to block artists because they were gay, or black, or jewish, or “of color”?

The very basics lie there: you cannot exclude a group because you don’t like the group.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you want the artists heard so much, do NOT expect the stations to pay to put them on there.
If you want the stations to pay to have the artist’s music on there, then shut the hell up and be happy about it when the stations cut them off.
Otherwise you just look like the biggest tool ever.

Ignoring groups in some areas would be bad yes. These radio stations though are not publicly funded. They have no obligation to air every single person who wants to be heard. If that was the case, then there would be no radio, it would be one permanent talk show.
If MusicFirst wants their propaganda to be heard so much, maybe they should just start a radio station and promote their hypocritcal ideals? There are plenty of rights groups who do stuff along those lines. They get their voice heard and don’t expect their opposition to freely promote their side of the argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m a jazz musician getting discriminated against because of my affiliations! This no-good COUNTRY station refuses to play my songs! My freedom of speech is being violated!

I really wonder if you guys even bother thinking through this stuff…

Oh, by the way, if you fail to pass on this post to everyone you know, you’re violating my right to word of mouth distribution. I can take you to court for that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The very basic lies here, YOU CAN NOT force someone to use your service and then force them to pay you. THAT’S EXTORTION. Simple as that.

It’s not an issue of, you’re discriminating against the artists because of race. It’s an issue of, I DON’T WANT TO BUY YOUR PRODUCT AND YOU SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO FORCE ME. The artists VOLUNTARILY signed with the RIAA, they didn’t have to, they could have gone independent and made their own music. We’re discriminating against them based on the poor business decisions they make just like customers discriminate against a store that sells an inferior product at a higher price and they choose the store that sells a superior product at a lower price. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE, it has to do with free markets and the fact that no store is entitled to my money just like the RIAA and no artist is entitled to payment by radio stations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Part of this is a question of freedom of speech for the artists covered by the RIAA agreements: Effectively, is their right to the airwaves being blocked because of an affiliation?”

So then what about all the artists who make Creative commons music? Where are their freedoms? I never hear any creative commons music on public airwaves, it’s all copyright, and there is a plethora of CC licensed music that many artists would love to be on public airwaves.

and what about me? I want to be able to talk or public radio too, it’s my freedom of speech. So why do I need a license? Why can’t I just buy broadcasting equipment and talk? What if the govt stopped me? If I petitioned the government, would they force broadcasters to allow me on public radio? Does every artist have a right to have their music heard on public stations?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

I really want the Performance Royalty tax to happen....

Most people dont understand change only happens when people are pushed to far or money comes into play. That is one of the reasons we should support the Performance Royalty tax and what ever fees the labels come up with in the future. We cant change the way they do business, lobbying, hiring judges and prosecuters after cases, changing copyright law to support their business models and there by give them monopoly status.

Lets give them the rope and support them. The faster we make this happen the more likely a large group of people will see the change. We all know people dont like change.

Just a small list …..
— unconstitutional level of Fines for copyright infringement
— Monopoly through copyright
— Public performance fees (Playing music to horses ..LOL)
— DMCA with rules that conflict with past copyright laws
— Fees for Web radio
— Fees for Sat based radio
— 3 strikes policy (that violates due process)
— Performance Royalty tax
— Various attempts to make ISP’s police their systems for infringers (major privacy issues here)

Please feel free to reply to this with other addtions to my small list

kevin says:

fcc

why don’t we get rid of fcc. what do they do that is really helpful, nothing and we pay them all this money that could be better used.we pay them to not let us watch what we want. and all because a few housewifes want to bitch that their kid saw something on the tv well if they didn’t use it as a babystitter their kids would have not saw that .fuck the fcc , fuck the fcc, fuck the fcc ,fuck the fcc!

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