Media Regulation & Intellectual Property
Arts and Industries Policy Forum Background Reports
Curb Center white papers provide insight into debate and discussion around Radio Deregulation and Consolidation and Reconsidering the Performance Right.
Laws and regulation around intellectual property and media consolidation are one of the most important cultural policy issues of the 21st century. Topics of interest range broadly—from assessing piracy in developing countries to file sharing on college campuses; the viability of record labels to the market opportunities for mobile technology; the remuneration of songwriters to the success of blockbuster film studios; smashups to Youtube; Flickr to Facebook; royalties on Beatles songs to accessing our country’s most iconic photographs.
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This AIPF Background Report reviews the history of radio regulation, discusses key components of the “public interest” argument, and reviews conflicting economic evidence of policy outcomes. Finally, this paper will suggest options for possible next steps and further study.
Recording artists and record companies in particular viewed digital audio transmissions (both legal transmissions and pirated downloads) as free substitutes for traditional record sales—which threatened their livelihood. Songwriters and music publishers, however, were less concerned; they felt reasonably assured that they would be fairly compensated in the new digital environment. Why? The difference in the two reactions goes to the heart of U.S. copyright law and the concept of the performance right.