The Commerce Department's Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) is right to delve into the complexity of music licensing in its recent paper on copyright, but we also need to understand how consolidation and business practices shape the licensing landscape if we want to create a more robust and fair music marketplace.
Among many other important issues, the Department of Commerce's recent paper on copyright discusses how copyright is shaping the current state of online music licensing (starting on page 77). To be fair, the paper doesn't purport to be a completely comprehensive examination of what's helping and hindering a healthy music licensing market, but without at least mentioning some of the biggest issues facing the marketplace today our policies might be misguided and ineffective.
First of all, the paper rightly recognizes that the best defense is a good offense, and notes studies crediting the development of legal music services as a leading force in decreasing infringement online. This is a good reminder that everyone--artists, intermediaries, and listeners alike--stand to benefit from a well-designed music licensing system that encourages a robust marketplace.
For those who are journeying down to sunny Austin, Texas for
the kick-off of the SXSW Music festival today, don’t forget to check out Public
Knowledge’s panel tomorrow,
where we’ll be talking about the effects of market concentration on consumers,
artists, and digital platforms.
The panel, inspired by the recent merger between major
record labels Universal Music Group and EMI, will also include artist advocate
and principal of WYZ Girl Entertainment Lita Rosario, CEO of indie label
association Merlin Charles Caldas, manager and CEO of V. Brown & Company
Vernon Brown, and Paul Geller, co-founder of The BKRY and former SVP of
of Jodie Griffin
House of Representative
on the Judiciary
on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet
Licensing Part One: Legislation in the 112th Congress
Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA) sets out to create fairness in the radio
marketplace. To actually achieve that goal, IRFA must follow three key
(1) Encourage Markets.
IRFA must use a royalty standard that encourages innovation in a robust and
sustainable online radio marketplace.
(2) Treat Like Services Alike.
IRFA must apply the same royalty standard to all types of radio services, including online, cable, satellite,
and AM/FM radio.