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News Releases

U.S. Government Announces Formal Investigation of Ukraine For Failure To Protect Intellectual Property Rights

May 30, 2013
Music Collection Societies Undermined, Online Piracy Hubs Unchecked, Prompts Investigation

WASHINGTON – The Acting U.S. Trade Representative, Miriam Sapiro, announced today that the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office was initiating an investigation of Ukraine’s failure to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property, under the U.S. government’s Special 301 authority.  Three areas were identified as prompting the investigation, including two of particular importance to the U.S. music community -- Internet piracy and the non-transparent and unfair administration and operation of copyright collecting societies.  Failure by the government of Ukraine to address these inadequacies could lead to the imposition of trade sanctions and the removal of trade preferences.

“We applaud the determination of Ambassador Sapiro and her staff in initiating this investigation.  The Ukrainian government should move quickly to address the causes that lead to this investigation in the first place and avert possible sanctions,” said Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, RIAA.  

“For far too long, Ukraine has tolerated, and in some instances even encouraged, the establishment of conditions that undermine the protection of legitimate property interests to the great detriment of US, Ukrainian and other cultural communities,” Turkewitz added.  “Legitimate collecting societies that represent U.S. and other rightholders have lost their accreditation, throwing collection into disarray.  The government has remained passive in the face of ubiquitous and centralized Internet piracy, operated by distribution hubs such as ex.ua, already noted as a ‘notorious market’ by the trade representative.  We of course have no interest in punishing Ukraine through the imposition of trade sanctions, but it is long overdue for the Ukrainians to promote the rule of law and live up to their international obligations.  Such a course is in its own economic and cultural interests.”

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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 are the music labels that 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 Announces Promotion of Steven M. Marks To Chief, Digital Business & General Counsel

May 13, 2013
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WASHINGTON – Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman today announced the promotion of Steven M. Marks to the newly created position of Chief, Digital Business & General Counsel.  Previously Marks served as Executive Vice President & General Counsel.  Marks will continue to report to Sherman.
 
As Chief, Digital Business for RIAA, Marks will oversee industry-wide initiatives to help grow the digital music marketplace and the new revenue streams that are increasingly critical to the music business.  Marks will continue to serve as lead negotiator to establish streamlined, industry-wide licenses, as well as to represent the major music labels in many legislative and regulatory proceedings.  Marks led the creation of the license for Internet radio and other services now administered by SoundExchange, and serves as Chair of SoundExchange’s Licensing Committee and on its Board of Directors.  Recently, Marks was instrumental in establishing a historic industry-wide licensing agreement between music labels, songwriters, digital music services, and mobile phone companies that set new royalty rates for several cutting-edge new digital music models.  He will also continue to oversee the organization’s legal, litigation, business affairs, and technology departments.
 
“The music business has transformed itself from a predominantly physical industry a decade ago to one in which 60 percent of our revenues are now derived from digital platforms,” said Sherman. “And as we increasingly become a predominantly digital business, we need a leader like Steve who can navigate the complex web of licensing issues with knowledge and ease so that innovation and music creativity can continue to flourish.
 
“Steve has been at the forefront of these issues for more than a decade,” continued Sherman.  “Few understand the complexity of the business like he does, and I’m delighted to announce his promotion and new title.”  
 
Marks was chosen by Inside Counsel magazine as one of the Top 50 General Counsels in the United States.  Before joining RIAA, Marks was in private practice at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. and Steel Hector & Davis in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Marks represented commercial, technology, and media and entertainment clients on First Amendment, intellectual property, employment and commercial matters.
 
Marks graduated from Duke Law School where he was Articles Editor of the Duke Law Journal.  Upon graduation, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.  He received his B.A. from Duke University.

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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 are the music labels that 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 Adds Digital Streams To Historic Gold & Platinum Awards

May 09, 2013
55-Year-Old Program Recognizes Non-Sales Format For First Time Ever
56 New Certifications Announced Today
Emeli Sande, Cher Lloyd and Jason Derulo to be Recognized by RIAA Tonight
At NARM & digitalmusic.org's Music Biz Awards in Los Angeles

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today announced the integration of streams to its historic Gold & Platinum (G&P) Program, the industry’s premier award for recognizing artistic achievement in the marketplace.  On-demand audio and/or video song streams will now be counted towards the 500,000 (Gold), 1,000,000 (Platinum) and 2,000,000 plus (multi-Platinum) thresholds required for G&P’s Digital Single Award certification.

56 titles, encompassing songs from dozens of music labels and spanning many musical genres, are included in the inaugural certifications for the newly expanded Digital Single Award.  Specifically, the RIAA is awarding 11 Gold, 18 Platinum and 27 multi-Platinum new “combined” Digital Single Awards counting both downloads and streams.  This includes streams from on-demand services like MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, Xbox Music and others, plus video streaming services like MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music, YouTube and more. 

“Including music streaming in Gold & Platinum awards marks the continued evolution of the industry’s premier program for recognizing artistic achievement, and it reflects the wide spectrum of ways consumers enjoy music from their favorite bands,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, RIAA.  “The music business, along with its incredible array of digital service partners, is offering fans more access to music than ever before.  We’re thrilled that our awards will now more fully recognize artists’ commercial success today.”

With the launch of the new program, RIAA today is awarding the following artists/songs with new certifications: 30 Seconds To Mars/"This Is War," Adele/"Rolling in the Deep, "Aerosmith/"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," Andy Grammer/"Keep Your Head Up," Anna Kendrick/"Cups," Avril Lavigne/"Smile," Ca$h Out/"Cashin' Out," Carly Rae Jepsen/"Call Me Maybe," Carrie Underwood/"Before He Cheats," Cher Lloyd/"Oath," Don Omar/"Danza Kuduro," Drake/"Started from The Bottom," Emeli Sandé/"Next To Me," Eminem/"Love The Way You Lie," Frank Ocean/"Thinkin Bout You," Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder/"The Fighter," Imagine Dragons/"Radioactive," J. Cole/"Workout," Jake Owen/"Alone With You" and "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," Jason Derulo/"Watcha Say" and "Ridin' Solo," Josh Turner/"Why Don't We Just Dance," Journey/"Don't Stop Believin,'" Juanes/"La Camisa Negra," Justin Bieber/"Baby," Justin Timberlake/"Suit & Tie," Kansas/"Dust In The Wind," Kanye West/"Stronger," Kelly Clarkson/"Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)," Kelly Rowland/"Motivation," Kendrick Lamar/"Poetic Justice," Kenny Chesney/"The Boys Of Fall," Lady Gaga/"Bad Romance," Lana Del Rey/"Video Games," LMFAO/"Sexy And I Know It," M83/"Midnight City," Michael Jackson/"Billie Jean," Of Monsters And Men/"Little Talks," Olly Murs/"Troublemaker," One Direction/"Little Things," P!nk feat. Nate Ruess/"Just Give Me A Reason," Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera/"Feel This Moment," Rihanna/"We Found Love," Robin Thicke/"Lost Without U," Selena Gomez & The Scene/"Love You Like A Love Song," The Black Keys/"Lonely Boy," The Fray/ "Over My Head (Cable Car)," The Script/"The Man Who Can't Be Moved," The Weeknd/"Wicked Games," Toby Keith/"Beers Ago," Train/"Drive By," Usher/"Scream," Whitney Houston/"I Will Always Love You," Will.i.am/"Scream & Shout" and Wisin & Yandel/"Follow The Leader."

This new expansion of the G&P Program – the approach, methodology and formula – was the culmination of a year-long project by the RIAA, led by Sherman, and a variety of label marketing, business and data analysis executives, in which the RIAA examined comprehensive information comparing data on digital downloads to similar data on on-demand audio and video streams.  The RIAA also closely consulted with NARM/digitalmusic.org, many digital music services, artist managers and industry leaders.  It is important to note the new certification approach, including the formula of 100 streams being equivalent to one download, is an approximate barometer of comparative consumer activity; the financial value of streams and downloads were not factored into the equation. 

Notably, the following 11 artists are receiving their first-ever RIAA digital song certifications due to streaming’s inclusion to the program: 30 Seconds To Mars /“This Is War” at Gold, Aerosmith/“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” at Platinum, Andy Grammer/“Keep Your Head Up” at Platinum, Anna Kendrick/“Cups” at Gold, Emeli Sandé/“Next to Me” at Gold, Juanes/“La Camisa Negra” at Gold, Lana Del Rey/“Video Games” at Gold, Robin Thicke/“Lost Without U” at Platinum, The Weeknd/“Wicked Games” at Gold, Whitney Houston/”I Will Always Love You” at 2x multi-Platinum and Wisin & Yandel/“Follow The Leader at Gold.

Tonight, Emeli Sandé, Cher Lloyd and Jason Derulo will pick up inaugural “combined” Digital Single Awards during a red-carpet event at the NARM and digitalmusic.org Music Biz conference, held at Los Angeles’ Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Capitol Records singer Sandé will receive her first-ever RIAA Gold award for “Next To Me,” Epic Records artist Lloyd her second RIAA Gold for “Oath” (“Want U Back” is currently RIAA 2x multi-Platinum) and Warner Bros. Records musician Derulo will take home his top RIAA award yet – a 4x multi-Platinum for “Watcha Say” – in addition to a 3x multi-Platinum for “Ridin’ Solo.”

Jim Donio, President of music business association NARM commented, "Getting streams included in the RIAA’s Gold and Platinum Awards certification has been a top agenda item for all of the member music services who participate in our digitalmusic.org Music Subscription Work Group. They are especially pleased to see these collaborative efforts come to fruition, and for music fan’s streaming activity be measured and recognized by the G&P Awards, one of the most important milestones in an artist’s career. Over the past few years, our members have also worked on related initiatives such as the creation of the first On Demand Songs Chart with Billboard and Nielsen, and we will continue to work with the RIAA and others as our industry evolves in the digital era."

On-demand streams on digital music services that are authorized by and reported to the record labels, whether paid for by the consumer through a subscription or free to the consumer through ad-supported services, will be accepted for RIAA certifications.  Only official label/company videos count towards certification; user generated videos do not.  Whymusicmatters.com, a joint initiative of the RIAA, NARM, and digitalmusic.org, lists the leading authorized music services in the United States.


The RIAA developed its Gold & Platinum Awards Program in 1958 to honor artists and create a standard by which to measure the commercial success of a sound recording.  The program trademarked the Gold record and formalized the industry practice of presenting awards to artists for music sales achievements.

First awarded to LP recordings but expanded to a number of formats overtime to include cassette tapes, CDs, digital tracks, digital albums, ringtones, and now streams, more than 14,000 titles have been certified by the RIAA during the last 55 years.

All certifications are calculated by the firm Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, which has audited title sales for the RIAA for more than 30 years.  Complete lists of all album, single, mastertone and video awards can also be accessed at riaa.com, while new and notable program news can be found at facebook.com/GoldandPlatinum.

RIAA G&P TIMELINE

1958 Program launched by the RIAA to honor artists and create a standard by which to measure sales of a sound recording. First Gold song certification goes to Perry Como for his single “Catch a Falling Star” (RCA Records). First Gold album certification awarded to the cast album to “Oklahoma!” sung by Gordon MacRae (Capitol).

1964 The Beatles earn their first Gold album certification for “Meet The Beatles!” (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol). Today the band is the most awarded in G&P history having certified 199 million units across all formats.

1999 Diamond Award established to honor sales of 10 million copies or more of an album or single.

2004 Digital Sales Award introduced in recognition of the significant sales of emerging digital music formats.

2005 First Platinum Digital Single Award goes to Gwen Stefani for her “Hollaback Girl” (Interscope) selling more than one million downloads.

2006 Master Ringtone Award introduced to recognize the growing popularity of enjoying music through cell phones.

2009 Michael Jackson’s legendary album “Thriller” (Epic/Legacy) certifies 29x multi-Platinum to join the Eagles’ “Eagles - Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” (Elektra/Warner Bros.) as the highest album certification in G&P history.

Lil Wayne’s ringtone “Lollipop” (Cash Money) becomes the highest certified ringtone to date at 5x multi-Platinum.

2012 The Black Eyed Peas earn RIAA’s highest digital single certification ever upon certifying “I Gotta Feeling” (Interscope) 8x multi-Platinum.

2013 “Combined” Digital Single Award launches, counting both downloads and on-demand streams in recognition of the increasing popularity of streaming as a method of music listening.

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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 are the music labels that 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


Obama Administration's Trade Office Names Intellectual Property Offenders

May 01, 2013
USTR designates Ukraine as Priority Foreign Country; Russia, China, Spain in spotlight in Special 301 Report

WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced its Special 301 Report today, identifying countries that warrant U.S. government attention due to their inadequate and ineffective intellectual property protections. USTR designated Ukraine as a Priority Foreign Country (the first time a country has been so designated since 2005), an action that could lead to the imposition of trade sanctions.  The Report can be viewed here.

Along with China, Russia was named high on the list as a “Priority Watch” country by USTR, which comes with news that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the country next week to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Below is a comment from RIAA EVP, International Neil Turkewitz:

“This report details continuing problems in a wide variety of markets, including Russia, Ukraine, Spain and China. The situation in Russia continues to be highly problematic. Given the scope and reach of the unlicensed music services, in particular vKontakte, the potential of the legitimate online market remains fully unrealized and music revenue per capita in Russia is by far the worst among the G-8.  While Russian government officials have recently recognized the need for rules to enhance accountability of online platforms, and a December 2012 U.S.-Russia Action Plan commits Russia to an aggressive work plan to address online infringement, there has thus far been little progress in actually moving forward with concrete steps to address a problem of vast dimension that undermines the interests of Russian and American creators alike.  The timing is ripe for this to be addressed with Secretary Kerry’s visit to Russia next week.  While we know and appreciate that there are many significant issues to be discussed, it is our hope that this Report, together with the Secretary’s visit to Russia, will help spur meaningful action by the Russian government to dramatically improve its intellectual property protection. We also highlight that Ukraine was designated as a Priority Foreign Country for its failure to meet its commitments under a 2010 Action Plan negotiated with the U.S.. That is not a good playbook for Russia to follow.

“Spain was not presently named to any Special 301 list, but USTR announced that they would conduct an out-of-cycle review of the situation later in the year to see whether the government of Spain had effectively implemented the various reforms that are currently under discussion. The Spanish music market has essentially been in a free fall, losing an additional 5% of its value in 2012 after having lost nearly 50% of its value over the preceding 4 years. The dire situation affecting Spanish creators, as well as their American counterparts, requires dramatic and urgent action.  We implore the Spanish government to move quickly to redeem its public commitments about the implementation of measures to remedy the situation.

“The situation in China remains extremely high on our agenda. The Chinese government has taken some encouraging steps, including in particular through a clarification of the law to ensure the liability of services that promote or induce infringement, but they have yet to embark on the kind of comprehensive and sustained effort to transition away from a market long dominated by piracy. This includes easing of current investment restrictions to help to create a more robust and competitive marketplace, and the elimination of discriminatory and onerous content reviews that have no effect other than to delay the entry of legitimate materials.

“It is also significant that for the first time since 2005, USTR has designated a country as a Priority Foreign Country (PFC), triggering the imposition of trade sanctions if there is inadequate progress in resolving the underlying problems.  While significant issues related to the protection of intellectual property arise in every country, Ukraine managed to stand out from the crowd by essentially allowing everything to fall apart.  Promised reforms to modernize the legal environment remain long stalled.  Internet piracy remains essentially unchecked, with major notorious markets such as ex.ua permitted to operate without interference.  Collecting societies duly empowered by rightsholders lost their state accreditation, resulting in market confusion and loss of revenue. We hope that the government of Ukraine will take prompt action to address these issues before sanctions are imposed.

“We also note that Switzerland was appropriately called out by USTR in the 301 Report, with USTR specifically noting that: ‘The United States continues to have serious concerns regarding the inability of rights holders to secure legal redress in Switzerland in cases involving copyright piracy over the Internet. The United States strongly encourages Switzerland to demonstrate its commitment to copyright protection and to combating online piracy vigorously, including by taking steps to ensure that rights holders can protect their rights. The United States will be closely monitoring the results of the current AGUR12 (“Arbeitsgruppe Urheberrecht 2012,” or “Working Group on Copyright 2012”) process as well as the Swiss Ministry of Economy (SECO)-led roundtable process.’”

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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 are the music labels that 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