In other news, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, [D-Google]., wants the Copyright Office to study if the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees should be modernized. Lofgren noted that the Department of Justice had reviewed the decrees just a couple of years ago and wondered, “What has changed since the last time?”
Aside from the DOJ dreaming up the insanity of 100% licensing and ignoring all other recommendations from songwriters as they did in the last review under a former Google lawyer working for the Antitrust Division, you mean?
And aside from the fact that the DOJ is reviewing 1,200 legacy consent decrees but only the songwriters get attention from Congress?
The company that claims to organize the worlds information, could not figure out how locate a songwriter named Brian Wilson, he wrote a little song called “Surfer Girl.” They filed an “address unknown” notice with the US Copyright Office. Wtf?
Rep. Sensenbrenner has introduced a bill called “The Transparency in Licensing Act.” We songwriters call it “The Shiv Act.” It’s pure doublespeak. It has nothing to do with “transparency.” It is clearly designed to stab songwriters in the back while greatly benefitting the largest members of the Mic-Coalition.org. Read more here,here and here.
In case you are not familiar, the Mic-Coalition is an astroturf group made up of mostly tech behemoths and broadcasters. At last count these companies’ combined market share exceeded 1.5 trillion dollars. The bill purports to support small businesses like the independent brewers represented by The Brewers Alliance, but it does not. In fact my unscientific sampling of independent brewers seems to indicate 1) Independent Brewers didn’t know they were supporting this bill, 2) are unaware they were even part of the alliance 3)didn’t know they had urgent music licensing concerns requiring legislative fix. (Maybe the DC policy rep for Brewers Association should explain rationale to members?).
This bill seems to have been designed by the Very Large Business Administration (as opposed to the Small Business Administration). The bill is a complete giveaway to the likes of Google, and ClearChannel. So just normal pay to play government legislation, right? Nothing to see here people, move along.
I dreamed up a startling new technique to attempt to divine whether the true purpose of the controversial Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act (or…”TIMLOA”?) was intended to protect small business as advertised by the MIC Coalition. I determined that the safe harbors in the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act (or as it’s been called, The Shiv Act) was actually designed to protect the biggest of big business.
What startling new technique did I utilize? I read the bill.
What you don’t find in the bill is anything that limits its application to small business. Is it common in music licensing legislation to find such protections? Absolutely. This wasn’t what I expected to find given the braying of the Disco Ducks. But then you know what they say…
The Fair Play Fair Pay Act, for example, has special protection in great specificity for small business like noncommercial broadcasters, public broadcasters and small broadcasters.
The Performance Rights Act (from the 110th Congress) also had very clear exemptions for small broadcasters.
While as a matter of propaganda it ignores these protections, the Local Radio Freedom Act (aka “The Pay Your Rent With Exposure Bucks Act”) is very clear about protecting a particular class of broadcasters: “local radio.”
Yet none of this protective language appears in the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act. Why doesn’t the TIMLOA have such limiting language if it’s actually all about protecting small business? Maybe because it’s not about small business at all? Maybe it’s about these guys in the MIC Coalition:
Realize some MIC Coalition members are themselves trade associations for companies with combined market capitalizations over $1 trillion. When you see logos for Digital Media Association, the CEA (now called the Consumer Technology Association) and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (home of the Disco Ducks) these are themselves made up of massive companies like Apple, Amazon, YouTube and of course Google, not to mention Spotify. True small business can’t afford these lobbyists and PR firms (like the Glen Echo Group) this starts to look like the astroturf plant it really is.
So don’t let them tell you that the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act is about small business, unless the MIC Coalition would like to include the kind of protective language in their bill that our business has always included to protect the real small business.
Remember the ex-Googler Renata Hesse who managed to get both herself and the Department of Justice sued by SONA over Hesse’s grotesque mishandling of 100% licensing? Like a good little bureaucrat, she leaves the songwriters to clean up her mess while she skips out to the big money. Don’t let the revolving door hit you.
And good job avoiding a confirmation hearing…that won’t happen again.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is hiring Renata Hesse, formerly head of the antitrust division at the Justice Department, as the law firm prepares for a continued wave of complex, cross-border mergers and other deals.
Ms. Hesse, 52 years old, will join Sullivan & Cromwell as a partner in Washington, D.C., the firm plans to announce Monday. The move is noteworthy not just because of Ms. Hesse’s stature in legal circles, but also because it is rare for Sullivan & Cromwell and other elite law firms to bring in partners from the outside. Until January, Ms. Hesse was acting assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division at the Justice Department, a position she has held twice.
Now that most of the DOJ lawyers who pushed the 100% licensing rule on songwriters are gone, who’s gonna deal with all those feral cats that former Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse was feeding? Last year, in what can only be described as an elaborate Kabuki, a small group of DOJ lawyers led by […]