Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Boucher calls for mandatory music licensing

Rep. Rick Boucher

In light of the continued success of illegal P2P networks, Rep. Rick Boucher has called for technology-neutral licensing. This would will allow legal downloading services to offer all recorded music and pay legally-defined royalties rather than haggling with record companies and therefore missing out on lots of songs.

It's hard enough to compete with "free"; offering a glaringly incomplete catalogue makes the pitch even harder. For instance, iTunes still cannot carry music by The Beatles.

Boucher was also joined by Sen. Maria Cantwell in calling for a streamlined royalties sytem. They both expressed the obvious and longstanding objection that terrestrial broadcasters pay songwriter's royalties but no royalties for mechanical licenses, while satellite and web broadcasters pay for both. The part they probably elided is that this is just another sign of the preposterous political clout of the National Association of Broadcasters.

They were just two of countless high-powered speakers at this week's Future of Media Policy Summit.


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