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RIAA CEO To Tout Voluntary Anti-Piracy Initiatives As Way Forward, Calls On Search Engines To Join The Effort

September 18, 2013
Asks Congress to facilitate discussion on DMCA in testimony before House IP panel

WASHINGTON – In testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman & CEO Cary Sherman will emphasize the promising nature of current voluntary collaborations between content owners and intermediaries such as ISPs, payment processors, advertisers, ad networks and others to prevent online music theft and grow the legitimate marketplace, noting that the music business earns more than 60 percent of its revenues from digital sales and offers millions of songs from more than 500 authorized music services worldwide.

“We, like others in the creative communities, are working very hard to grow this digital marketplace, driving new technologies and services, and entering into new licenses and partnerships,” Sherman will testify.  “But in order to make this digital marketplace truly work, we must ensure that these vibrant new legitimate and authorized technologies are not undermined by those engaged in illegal activity.  Voluntary initiatives with Internet intermediaries are a key component of that objective.”

Sherman will call on search engines such as Google to take a page from current successful voluntary initiatives and work with the music community to meaningfully prevent illegal sources of music from appearing in top search results.

“Search engines are the roadmaps – indeed, the turn-by-turn directions – to rogue sites online,” says Sherman. “They can be a key part of addressing infringing activity, yet there is no voluntary agreement regarding search results that lead users to illegal activity.”

In his written remarks, as proof that search engines can do more to prevent online theft, Sherman points to a Google search conducted by RIAA staff on August 29, 2013 for mp3s or downloads of the recent top 50 Billboard tracks whereby an illegal site for which Google has received more than 1.25 million copyright removal notices consistently shows up in the top five search results. If Google implements voluntary steps to demote clearly illegal sites and promote legitimate sites that pay creators and marks them as licensed, this could have a profound and positive impact on user experience and behavior, notes Sherman.

Sherman also will ask Congress to help facilitate discussions on how to make the “notice and takedown” provisions of the DMCA more effective and meaningful so that copyright owners and service providers are not unduly burdened under the current process, but will stress that voluntary discussions are preferable to any legislative effort.

“While unilateral enforcement efforts and legislative options have played a large part in our past and may necessarily play a role going forward, we truly believe that strengthening our partnerships and mutual efforts through voluntary initiatives is preferable and can be much more effective,” says Sherman.

A copy of Sherman’s testimony can be viewed here.

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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


Rising Supertsar Hunter Hayes Lends His Voice to the Give The Gift Of Music Campaign, Launching 3rd Annual 'Countdown to the CMA Awards' Contest

September 16, 2013
Winner Will Receive Two Tickets to "The 47th Annual CMA Awards" and $1,000

MARLTON, N.J./WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kicking off the third annual “Countdown to the CMA Awards” contest as part of its industry-wide Give The Gift Of Music (GTGOM) campaign, music business association NARM, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), today debuted a brand new video from Hunter Hayes. Hayes performed his hit song “Wanted” and took home the prestigious honor of being named the CMA Awards New Artist of the Year at the 2012 CMA Awards, and this past August performed his current smash hit, “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” with Jason Mraz on CMA’s Music Festival Special on ABC. The video spotlights the significance of giving and receiving music as a gift and launched exclusively in a featured “Countdown to the CMA Awards” section of the givethegiftofmusic.info website.

Hunter credits receiving instruments as gifts with sparking his love for music. “All of my musical instruments, up until about three years ago, were gifts. They were more than just instruments. They were more than just something to do with my free time. They were a place. I found myself. I found what I was going to be. I found who I was through music. … Music is very powerful and it’s one of the most powerful gifts you can give someone,” he said.

To watch the full video, visit www.givethegiftofmusic.info.

The site also contains video contributions from 2013 CMA Awards nominees such as Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Little Big Town among others.

The 3rd annual GTGOM “Countdown to the CMA Awards” contest asks fans to share how Hayes or a particular 2013 CMA Awards nominee’s music (song, lyrics, performance, etc.) has inspired them. The grand prize winner will receive two tickets to attend “The 47th Annual CMA Awards” in Nashville on Wednesday, November 6, and a cash prize of $1,000. Special Country music gift packages will go to the second- and third-place winners. Specific details on the new gifting contest, including deadlines, rules, and regulations, can be found at givethegiftofmusic.info/2013-countdown-to-the-cma-awards-contest/.

Hayes will be succeeded as New Artist of the Year by one of this year’s New Artist of the Year nominees: Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Kacey Musgraves, Kip Moore, and Lee Brice. A full list of awards and nominees can be found at cmaworld.com/cma-awards/nominees/categories/.

In the weeks leading up to “The 47th Annual CMA Awards” - airing live on Wednesday, November 6, at 8|7c on the ABC Television Network - music fans and consumers can further connect with the GTGOM campaign, and its featured Country and other popular artists, on social media sites including Facebook (facebook.com/givethegiftofmusic) and Twitter (twitter.com/agiftofmusic).

NARM and RIAA oversee the GTGOM campaign, which reminds consumers that they can now give the gift of music in more ways than ever, including physical, online, and mobile options.  A variety of industry organizations and more than 70 top musicians support the initiative and have helped spread the gifting message. Artists contribute original anecdotes to the givethegiftofmusic.info website that allow consumers to hear how music gifts have touched the lives of their favorite performers. Visitors can also share their own gifting memories, discover new music gift ideas, and share their music wish list with friends and loved ones all year long. In addition, industry groups have supported the campaign by using the GTGOM logo and website URL on their products, in advertisements, and on their websites.

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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


Record Companies Sue SiriusXM For Unauthorized Use of Pre-1972 Copyrighted Recordings in California

September 11, 2013
Legendary Artists Eric Burdon, Judy Collins, Sam Cooke (Estate), Steve Cropper, Duke Fakir, Sam Moore, Dionne Warwick, and Nancy Wilson Support Case

A group of independent and major record labels today sued SiriusXM in California state court for using songs recorded before 1972 -- including standards from the 40's and 50's, rock and roll from the 50's and 60's, and the Motown Sound -- without paying the artists and rights holders who brought those songs to life.

Through a quirk of history, federal copyright law did not protect sound recordings until 1972.  Recordings made before 1972 -- staples of satellite radio -- are protected by state laws.  SiriusXM has interpreted that fact such that they only pay for the use of songs recorded after 1972, and not for using the songs that were recorded before 1972.  The company's self-serving decision means that it pays a band like the Four Tops when it uses the 1973 hit, "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got)"  but not when it broadcasts the group's iconic songs from the 60's like "Baby I Need Your Loving,"  "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch," or "Reach Out."

Below are comments from several different artists supporting the case and then background and excerpts of the legal arguments. 

Eric Burdon (“House of the Rising Sun,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” others) comment:  "Everybody knows that the music industry has been going through lots of big changes but it's always been true that older artists find it harder to earn a living.  How long can we be out there on the road?  How long can a body suffer the trials of constant travel?  SiriusXM’s treatment of elder artists such as myself is totally unfair. They're using our music to attract subscribers.  Great bluesmen and the early rockers, like me, already suffered at the hands of unscrupulous sharks and we hoped this practice had stopped long ago.  SiriusXM’s record profits shouldn’t come at the expense of artists like me, nor should they come at the expense of any artist.  It's not a level playing field.  We rely on being paid fairly by services like SiriusXM.  I will continue to give it all I've got until my river runs dry, but Sirius XM doesn't think I deserve to be paid fairly for what I do.  After 50 years of service in the music industry, in the interest of entertaining the people, I think we deserve better."

Judy Collins (singer/songwriter and activist) comment:  "I am shocked to once again find that SiriusXM, in violation of the trust given to it when its license was granted by the FCC, insisting that it pay royalties to performers on radio, is dancing the same old dance, the same old game that terrestrial radio played with us for decades by withholding the royalties from performers who sing the songs that we hear on the radio.  It means that all my biggest hits, from "Both Sides Now" and "Who Knows Where the Time Goes, from "Turn Turn Turn" and "Suzanne, from "Some Day Soon" to "Bird on a Wire," have not received the royalties due to me under the license granted to SiriusXM radio.  They are turning my lost royalties into their profit.  It is disgraceful, unfair, and probably criminal that SiriusXM is STEALING monies due to me and other performing artists.  Performers should be paid their fair share of the royalties from their songs.”

Nicole Cooke (Estate of Sam Cooke) comment:  "On behalf of my grandfather Sam Cooke’s estate, my grandmother and the entire Cooke family who are impacted everyday by the failure to receive royalties from companies like SiriusXM who refuse to pay us for the use of our copyrighted works recorded prior to 1972, we are sincerely hopeful that the state of California will rule favorably on this case and begin to reverse the trend of big companies profiting on protected works and treating certain artists and their heirs as second class citizens.  SiriusXM is using my grandfather’s music to attract millions of subscribers and broadcasting his recordings for free.  SiriusXM has been enjoying record profits at the expense of artists like my grandfather for too long.  As the music industry changes and traditional revenue streams are replaced by a proliferation of digital services, it is very important that my grandfather’s estate is treated fairly by new businesses that commercially exploit his works without any accountability.”

 

Steve Cropper (guitarist, songwriter, and member of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group Booker T. & the MG’s) comment:  “It’s an outrage that SiriusXM, a multi-billion company making a big profit based partly on the popularity of its oldies channels is refusing to pay artists like me one penny.  That’s not right and that needs to change.”

Abdul "Duke" Fakir (The Four Tops) comment:  "I am extremely surprised and disappointed to learn that SiriusXM has not been paying for the use of pre-1972 recordings, as so many of their channels are built on songs from that period, not only by The Four Tops but by many other artists as well.  Many of their listeners tune in specifically to hear this pre-1972 music, so in all fairness, I would hope that they would see the importance and necessity of straightening this matter out as quickly as possible."

Sam Moore (“The Legendary Soul Man”) comment:  “SiriusXM’s treatment of my peers, the legacy artists who recorded our hits before 1972 is outrageous.  SiriusXM is using mine and my friends’ talent, our music, to attract subscribers, but they don't think we deserve to be paid like our fellow artists who recorded after the ‘72 cut off.  SiriusXM’s record profits shouldn’t be at the expense and on the backs of artists like me.  We are not all rich, we are not all healthy, we are not all able to work the way we did when we were younger.  We think we have the right to expect to be paid fairly for our historic works by services like SiriusXM.  We know there are no laws preventing SiriusXM from paying us.  I think it's morally wrong that us older artists are excluded because we recorded before what amounts to an arbitrary date in the early 70's.  We've all found it harder, as the music industry changes, to keep our boats floating and earn a decent living so we appreciate and applaud the record companies, the copyright holders of our masters, taking the litigation burden for all of us affected by Sirius's refusal to pay us."

Dionne Warwick comment:  "Classic tracks recorded before 1972 are an important part of American culture, and an important of SiriusXM's programming.  The great artists played on the 40's, 50's, and 60's stations should be treated with respect and properly compensated as SiriusXM is required to do, so I am asking Sirius not to "Walk On By" and do the Right Thing!!"

Nancy Wilson (Grammy award-winning jazz singer) comment:  “The position taken by SiriusXM is simply unjustifiable.  They carry specific channels which feature the music of the 1940’s, the 1950’s and the 1960’s.  The music from those decades is universally recognized as the very foundation for all that followed.  SiriusXM trades on that legacy yet refuses to compensate the performers who created it.  Hopefully, the court will recognize that for SiriusXM to discriminate against performers based on an arbitrary date in 1972 is the kind of arbitrary discrimination we all fought so hard to eliminate in this country.”

Background On Case:

Under California law, the state has “provided uninterrupted common law and statutory protection to the owners of sound recordings against those who operate them without license or consent” (excerpt from complaint).  The federalization of sound recordings in 1972 by the U.S. Congress explicitly preserved “any rights or remedies” under relevant state laws.
 
“California has provided common law and statutory protection for pre-72 recordings without any exclusions and including the right of public performance,” according to the record companies’ complaint, which further states:  “SiriusXM refused to obtain the licenses and pay for the daily public performance and reproduction of thousands of plaintiffs’ pre-72 recordings that SiriusXM advertises and transmits to millions of its paying subscribers over dozens of its satellite radio channels.” 

These particular works are an especially lucrative contributor to the $3.4 billion in revenue SiriusXM generates.  “SiriusXM regularly advertises and promotes the availability of pre-72 recordings on its services.  A significant portion of SiriusXM’s channels feature classic sound recordings, including channels exclusively devoted to songs from the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s,” according the complaint.  That SiriusXM refuses to obtain a license or pay any royalties “is in sharp contrast to many other services that regularly obtain licenses” (complaint excerpt) for those particular recordings, the record companies state in the filing. 

In addition to Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings and Warner Music Group as plaintiffs, the lawsuit includes ABKCO, the label representing a variety of the most popular legacy musicians whose works are being illegally exploited, including The Rolling Stones, The Animals and Sam Cooke.

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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