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News Releases

Coalition of Copyright Industries Highlights Major Impediments to Foreign Markets In 'Special 301' Submission

February 06, 2015
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As part of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), RIAA today filed a submission to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) identifying some of the key impediments to effective copyright protection in foreign markets. Under a provision of U.S. trade law known as “Special 301,” USTR is mandated by Congress to identify foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or fair and equitable market access for products and services that rely on intellectual property protection. Today’s submission, available here, requests that 13 countries be placed or retained on lists under Special 301.
 

Regarding the submission, RIAA EVP, International, Neil Turkewitz, observed:

 
“We are at an incredibly interesting and exciting moment for the future of everyone involved in the creative industries, and for all of the world’s consumers of what we create. Developments in communications technologies have enabled efficient global distribution of cultural materials, and the ability to offer diversified products and services tailored to the desires of individual users. The revolution in web-enabled communications has the potential to drive a cultural renaissance of unprecedented dimension. The question before societies around the world is whether this potential will be realized. To do so, we need to develop better legal tools to address the unfair competition posed by unlicensed platforms providing access to infringing materials, and to incentivize personal and corporate accountability throughout the Internet ecosystem. In many places, the current trajectory is less than promising, and today’s report identifies many of the key issues preventing creators from obtaining compensation for the use of their materials.”
 

“To be clear, no country, including the U.S., is immune from the harms posed by high levels of unfair practices on the Internet, and every country should be approaching these issues with creativity and fairness, understanding that solutions need to be proactive and contemplate responses in Internet time. Having said that, there are distinctions to be made between the efforts of different countries, and today’s filing highlights practices in some of the countries that have been least responsive in addressing piracy and capturing the opportunities presented in the current environment. In some countries like China and India, the average music revenue per user is a fraction of $1 per year, greatly undermining local and U.S. creators alike, and prejudicing both cultural diversity and economic development. Luckily, officials in both of these territories have recently woken up to the fact that piracy levels undermine their national interest, and have vowed to expand efforts to create a legitimate marketplace that will foster investment in creative enterprises. Some governments have remained far too passive in the face of piracy that affects their markets, including surprising ones like Switzerland. Canada, Spain and Italy were also in that category, but they have all recently taken actions to begin to address this problem. We urge Switzerland to similarly take up long-awaited reforms on an urgent basis, and for Spain, Italy and Canada to build on what they have started.

 
“Finally, there are a variety of countries where collecting societies chosen by music rightholders have been unable to collect, or to fairly collect, revenue for the use of their recordings. A number of the countries identified today fall into that category, including Russia, Ukraine, Mexico and the UAE, and we call on these countries to move quickly to adopt necessary regulations or practices to enable licensing on a fair, transparent and accountable basis. Today’s music industry is no longer based exclusively on selling objects, and licensing forms a core part of the revenue basis for sustaining the music community. Addressing problems in licensing has thus emerged as a core issue that must be addressed.”

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101


RIAA Reaction To U.S. Copyright Office Proposed Reforms To Music Licensing System

February 05, 2015
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WASHINGTON–The U.S. Copyright Office today issued a comprehensive report – “Copyright and the Music Marketplace” – with its recommendations on how to modernize music licensing.  Below is a comment on the report from RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman:

“The Copyright Office has made an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about modernizing the copyright laws.  They have given all of us in the music community a lot to digest and reflect upon.   As the economic engines of the broader music industry, record labels look forward to participating in this ongoing discussion and working towards reform that will both modernize the outdated music licensing system and more accurately reflect the investments and value that the various stakeholders bring to the music marketplace.  
 
“The office recognizes a consensus within the industry that the current system for licensing musical compositions is broken.  Reform is necessary to develop new revenue streams for all creators and innovative consumer product offerings for music fans.  The office also recognized that it is time to fix the system to ensure that all creators are paid fair market value for their work, regardless of the platform on which their work is used.  For example, a performance right for FM and AM radio is long overdue.  The fact that a multi-billion dollar broadcasting industry that derives its value from music gets a special interest carve-out from paying artists and labels continues to be indefensible.  Likewise, artists and labels behind iconic recordings made before 1972 deserve to be compensated by digital radio outlets like Pandora and Sirius.  They could change their minds and start doing the right thing tomorrow.  We are pleased that recent court decisions have focused attention on this injustice and we look forward to resolving those lawsuits so that discrimination against these iconic recordings no longer exists.
 
“Working with our music industry partners, there’s much we can accomplish to foster a more vibrant and successful online music marketplace.  We look forward to studying the report in depth to further understand the office’s recommendations and to working with the office and all stakeholders to improve music licensing.” 
 

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101