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News Releases

RIAA Applauds Introduction of New Legislation Granting Greater Access to Creative Works

April 25, 2008
WASHINGTON -- The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) applauded recently introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would allow greater public access to copyrighted works whose owners cannot be located.

The legislation, HR 5889 and S 2913, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Representatives Howard Berman (D-Cal.), Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Howard Coble (R-Cal.), amends current copyright law to provide for use of a copyrighted work when the owner cannot be found.

“The copyright laws should strive to connect owners and users, and allow for common sense solutions when that is not possible,” said Mitch Bainwol, Chairman & CEO, RIAA. “The inability to find owners of copyrighted works after a good-faith, exhaustive effort has been made can essentially render them unavailable and sometimes discourages the creation of new works that could benefit the public.”

“We applaud Senators Leahy and Hatch and Representatives Berman, Smith, Conyers and Coble for taking this important step to improve upon our copyright system in a way that meaningfully considers the needs of both users and rights holders and we look forward to working with them on the practical application of this new process as this bill progresses.”

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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 Comments on U.S. Trade Rep's Special 301 Report Highlighting Piracy Issues in Key International Markets

April 25, 2008
WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab today issued the government's annual report highlighting the most
significant problems facing U.S. intellectual property owners in foreign markets. The announcement arises from a provision of U.S. trade law known as Special 301 that requires identification of countries that fail to provide adequate and effective protection to U.S. intellectual property. Special 301 also provides for the imposition of trade sanctions or the removal of trade preferences where countries do not cure such deficiencies.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) issued the following comments on the report from Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International:

“The 2008 Special 301 report effectively identifies the key issues that limit economic opportunities in foreign markets for U.S. creators and creative industries—and in particular rightfully highlights well-known continuing problems in China and Russia. This year's report increasingly identifies key barriers faced by creative industries in expanding legitimate electronic distribution of copyright materials, while at the same time highlighting the failure of some governments to take effective action against physical piracy.”

“We hope that governments will take USTR’s recommendations on board as they consider how to enhance economic prosperity and cultural production, and how to advance the rule of law in environments, both physical and virtual, that have been relatively--or in some cases, completely--lawless. We also recommend to the United States Trade Representative, and other U.S. government agencies, that they continue to hold our trading partners accountable on the critical issue of intellectual property. As we previously stated earlier this year in our petition to USTR, while we believe that it is in the interest of all nations to address copyright piracy in all of its forms for their own domestic purposes, it is sometimes, however disappointingly, necessary for the United States to ensure that there are ramifications for failure to meet international obligations.”

“We also want to thank Ambassador Schwab and her dedicated team, as well as the other U.S. agencies involved in the preparation of this report. It has been reported that roughly 40 percent of U.S. GDP is affected by the protection of intellectual property, and U.S. losses due to piracy are staggering. Today’s report provides a very insightful picture of the principal barriers faced by intellectual property owners in global markets. If we can turn today’s problems into tomorrow’s opportunities, we will have succeeded in significantly expanding the U.S. economy, and in greatly enhancing the environment for investment in the creative talent of Americans throughout various sectors of our economy.”

CHINA AND RUSSIA

“As in recent years, USTR has identified some of the world’s most notorious marketplaces for the sale or distribution of infringing materials. The 2008 Special 301 list includes some key street markets in places like the Czech Republic, the tri-border area, Mexico and Argentina that stand as virtual monuments to the scale of piracy. And perhaps even more importantly, this list identifies key sites whose very business models rely upon furnishing infringing materials, or access thereto, including Russia’s allofmp3.com and China’s Baidu. Russia's allofmp3.com has been the subject of intense discussions between the U.S. and Russia, and we hope that the Russian government will complete criminal actions against the principals of allofmp3.com and the fraudulent licensing societies in the near term.”

“Baidu is perhaps the most interesting given that shares of Baidu are traded on NASDAQ, and that Baidu has just announced that it posted a 71 percent increase in 2008 first-quarter profits. Baidu’s inclusion on this list of bad actors will hopefully cause it to abandon a business built on piracy. It is reported that Baidu accounts for the delivery of over 50 percent of the infringing music files in China, and its SEC disclosure gives eerie witness to the importance of its music service (providing links to infringing files) to the company’s bottom line. A 71 percent increase in profits should not be built on the back of piracy.”

CANADA

“This year's USTR report highlights key legislative issues as well as enforcement issues. Top among these is Canada's continued failure to amend its copyright law to meet the challenges of new technologies, despite repeated calls from Canada's domestic copyright community, producers, creators and unions, and numerous promises by the government that they would do so. In today’s report, USTR highlighted that: The United States notes its continuing serious concerns with Canada’s failure to accede to and implement the WIPO Internet Treaties. We concur, and also ask our own government to remain very engaged with their Canadian counterparts until this long-standing problem has been effectively addressed.”

SPAIN AND GREECE

“USTR also placed Spain and Greece on the watch list in light of growing concerns about piracy. While the Spanish government has taken some laudable action against the street piracy that was engulfing the market, it maintains laws and practices that virtually ensure ineffective enforcement against online piracy, and we hope that these issues will soon be addressed. Greece has arguably the worst record in Europe in the fight against all forms of piracy, and pirate physical products are ubiquitous.”

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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 and MPAA Join Atlanta Law Enforcement for Historic Evidence Destruction Event

April 16, 2008
More than one million counterfeit CDs and DVDs seized from previous local raids destroyed

ATLANTA – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) today joined Atlanta public officials to destroy more than one million counterfeit CDs and DVDs seized as a result of enforcement efforts throughout the metro region, marking the largest destruction of seized property in recent U.S. history.

The event took place at the Atlanta Police Department Headquarters’ property section where the evidence was placed in large pallets and “shredded” before being sent to recycling facilities. Participants included a representative from the Atlanta police department; Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freemon; Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr.; Brad Buckles, Executive Vice President, Anti-Piracy, RIAA, and Kevin Suh, Deputy Director, U.S. Anti-Piracy Operations, MPAA.

“Individuals selling CDs for cheap on the street corner are not just small-time peddlers -- they are fronts for larger criminal organizations that steal music by the millions of CDs. These groups are also often involved in other illegal activity such as narcotics and weapons trade and benefit from the high profits and low risk of piracy crimes,” said Buckles. “That’s why we hold our relationships with law enforcement to the highest degree of importance – these criminals threaten the health and safety of Atlanta’s neighborhoods, as well as neighborhoods across the country where this illegal activity is present.

“Piracy not only affects the creative industries, but takes away valuable revenue generated from legitimate purchases from local retailers and city and state governments. We commend Police Chief Richard Pennington, Sheriff Freemon, District Attorney Howard and all members of Atlanta law enforcement for their continuing efforts to help curb the illegal music trade on the streets of Atlanta,” Buckles added.

The illicit product – estimated to be worth more than $20 million – was captured during various law enforcement raids on premises suspected of being used by illegal pirate operations to sell counterfeit music and movies. The destruction of evidence is in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

“We want to encourage consumers to purchase DVDs from legitimate retailers and from legal download sites to ensure they are buying genuine high quality copies of the movies they love and to help protect one of America's greatest exports," said Kevin Suh, Deputy Director of U.S. Anti-Piracy Operations for the MPAA. "We commend the Atlanta Police Department, and the Fulton County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's office for their diligence and effort to curb piracy in Atlanta."

According to a recent report by the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), the global theft of sound recordings cost the U.S. economy $12.5 billion in lost revenue, and more than 71,000 jobs and $2 billion in wages to U.S. workers. Global losses from physical piracy to the U.S. sound recording industry, according to IPI, are estimated to be more than $1.6 billion annually.

The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lost $18.2 billion in 2005 as a result of piracy – more than $7 billion of which is attributed to Internet piracy and more than $11 billion attributed to hard goods piracy including bootlegging and illegal copying.

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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