Not surprisingly, the Digital Media Association is supporting the Internet Radio Fairness Act–and my bet is that their support has less to do with radio than the other goodies that are hidden in the bill.
Let’s start with this:
7. Global music rights database.
For purposes of facilitating compensation to artists of musical works and combating copyright infringement, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinate and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, shall submit to Congress a report that provides a set of recommendations about how the Federal Government can facilitate, and possibly establish, a global music registry that is sustainably financed and consistent with World Intellectual Property Organization obligations. Such registry should, to the extent practicable, include all known or copyrighted musical works, the writers of the work, the owners of the rights, the entity on behalf of those owners who can license such rights on a territory-by-territory basis, and all known sound recording data.
MTP readers will remember when we questioned DiMA member Google’s motives in the WIPO-backed database project for African musicians: Helping African artists manage their rights globally
As we said at the time, there’s a short step from “helping” African artists “manage their rights” (or in translation, give Google their data for free) and “helping” the rest of the world organize its music rights whether the rest of the world liked it or not.
The IRFA section–which has nothing to do with the Internet, Radio or Fairness–sounds a lot like the “rights clearning house” that the Google Review–sorry, the Hargreaves Review–wants to force on our business in the UK. Are you suprised?
Aside from being duplicative of the GRID project in Europe which is coming along nicely, Google wants to use their massive lobbying power to force the US government to force ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange and citizens generally to hand over valuable data to people who don’t understand it, won’t care for it, and will use it against the songwriters, artists and copyright owners. This smells like the Rightsflow clusterfrag which is a complete disaster.
Of course, when you realize that the purpose of these Google-backed intitiatives is to create a huge black box and ultimately avoid paying royalties, all will become clear. In fact, that’s about the only way you can understand the YouTube content management system, for example.
So now we get it, something for everyone.
Rate screwing: Pandora
Court Packing: Pandora, Sirius, National Association of Broadcasters and DiMA
Censorship: All of the above
Database theft: Google and the Captain Ahab of the logic of royalties, determined to screw songwriters one last time.
Just understand who you are dealing with.