I am writing today to urge you to oppose The Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), S. 3609. This bill would impose below-market rates for music creators when compensated by Internet radio companies for the use of their work.
IRFA has attracted opposition from organizations on both sides of the political spectrum including the American Conservative Union, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, and 125 artists of all genres who provide the music for digital radio services. In addition, please find the attached letter from Citizens Against Government Waste opposing S. 3609.
While the stated purpose of IRFA is to achieve parity, this bill would interfere with property rights and in effect force American property owners and creators to provide a subsidy to digital radio services, primarily Pandora, It is incumbent on digital radio companies to develop and implement a business model that produces the revenue they need, rather than expect government to reduce their costs.
Accordingly, the standard for establishing rates for music or any American product should be based on marketplace benchmarks, not a below-market standard that favors one side and, as Citizens Against Government Waste describes, “locks in old business models and technology by preventing ‘ disruption ‘ of established services.”
We all want Pandora – and Internet radio – to succeed and grow. But it can do so without legislation and without harming the artists it relies on. A consumer-driven marketplace has been a hallmark of innovation on the Internet and the same market forces should decide the value both of competing music delivery services and the music content they deliver.
I agree that we should be working toward parity in the way royal ties are determined. However, parity should be based on free market principles and achieved in a comprehensive way that levels the playing field for all copyright holders and across all mediums for music.
Please join me in opposing S. 3609.
United States Senator