As part of our mission to make sure that artists' and musicians' voices are not left out of the policy debate, FMC regularly prepares and submits public comments, documents, and testimony to the appropriate rulemaking bodies. In these documents, the FMC strives to inject the debate with information about how policies can affect artists and the public at large.
On April 10, 2015 FMC filed comments before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in oppposition to a petition previously submitted the Radio Broadcasters Coalition that would legitimize payola—the practice of radio programmers accepting cash or other enticements in exchange for airplay.
If a radio station is playing music because a giant record company paid them to do so, at the very least they have to make an explicit announcement saying so, over the air, at the time of broadcast, as federal law requires.
potiential harms to creators, fans and innovators from the discriminatory use of data caps exclusion for select applications and services
Future of Music Coalition met with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s staff to discuss so-called “zero-rating”—the practice of excepting certain online applications, sites and services from user-imposed data caps. This ex-parte filing details the conversation and lays out how zero-rating can be used to hinder competition and why it ultimately serves to disadvantage creative entrepreneurs.
Creators endorse "reclassification" of broadband under Title II of Communications Act
Dear Chairman Wheeler:
We write to you at a crucial moment for net neutrality, as we probably don’t have to remind you. We understand that your position can be thankless and that it is difficult to take a stand for what is right when there is so much pressure from powerful interests and their political allies. As musicians and composers, we want to thank you for moving forward with strong net neutrality rules. As so many creators have already noted, reclassification under Title II is the best way to ensure that the Internet remains open for us to build businesses, reach audiences and earn a living in what is a challenging marketplace for creative content.
You certainly have our appreciation. And we urge you to remain steadfast in your efforts to keep the Internet a viable platform for creative entrepreneurs. Without clear and enforceable rules that let us compete alongside the biggest companies, our ability to create and innovate will be threatened, if not extinguished.
Please don’t be fooled by those trying to turn this issue into a partisan grudge match. Not only do recent polls show that some 80 percent of conservatives back your plan, the creative community—which includes folks of all political dispositions—is equally supportive. The reason is simple: creators of all genres and backgrounds will benefit from the protections your proposal would enshrine. Net neutrality is not only a powerful engine of creative expression and civic discourse, it is the very oxygen of a free and competitive marketplace built on technological and cultural innovation. And artists are drivers of both.
Artists have endured tremendous consolidation in the media marketplace that has limited opportunities for many to reach audiences and earn a living. We are sure that you probably don’t need to be reminded, but we’ll mention it anyway: there is a public interest imperative in preserving an open Internet and the creative sector is a huge part of this interest. It is our creativity that enriches culture and inspires the world in countless ways. The Internet is one of the greatest amplifiers of our contributions to society, and society benefits from access to a diverse array of lawful online content. While we await details of the specific provisions in your proposal, we are confident that you have chosen the proper framework with which to proceed.
We know that you will face political opposition and coordinated attacks from well-funded corporations. But isn’t it cooler to have us on your side than some giant ISP? We think so. And we’ll step up to defend your plan because we know it’s the right call, and we know you understand the importance of making it.
So we thank you, Chairman Wheeler. For listening to our perspectives and making some tough but crucial decisions. Now let’s get this thing over the finish line so that today and tomorrow’s artists can continue to enrich our culture and achieve excellence on our own terms.
My Morning Jacket
Filing makes case that an even larger Comcast would negatively impact creators
On December 23, 201, the attached comments were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its proceeding “Applications of Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable Inc. for Consent to Assign or Transfer Control of Licenses and Applications” (MB Docket No. 14-57).
As we pointed out in our initial joint filing, the merger will negatively impact creators across markets—from multichannel programming distribution (MVPD) to online video distribution (OVD) to Internet service providers (ISPs). Comcast’s existing onwership of a major motion picture and television studio (NBC-Universal), combined with its dominance in cable television and internet service, put it in a position to leverage its size and influence to discriminate against unafilliated programming, harm competition and reduce payments to smaller programmers and content creators.
The comments dismantle several of Comcast’s arguments for the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, including a flawed economic rationale used to tout vague and unconvincing benefits. The filing also suggests that DSL Internet service should not be counted as part of the current broadband marketplace, due to speed and other limitations that render it non-comparable to cable and fiber offerings. An examination of the actual marketplace for broadband reveals already troubling levels of concentration, which will be exacerbated by a Comcast-TWC merger. For this and many other reasons made plain in our filing, the merger is not in the public interest, no conditions will satisfy this interest, and the FCC must block the deal.
Why Net Neutrality Matters: Protecting Consumers and Competition Through Meaningful Open Internet Rules
On September 17, 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in its hearing, “Why Net Neutrality Matters: Protecting Consumers and Competition Through Meaningful Open Internet Rules.”
Response to specific ISP arguments in support of a pay-to-play Internet
On September 15, 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted the following reply comments in the FCC’s public docket on Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet. Our comments are in direct response to those filed by telecommunications and cable companies in the initial phase of this proceeding.
On September 12, 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted the following comments to the United States Copyright Office in its second request for comments regarding its Music Licensing Study.
Proposed merger would disadvantage creators and hinder access and innovation
On August 25, 2014, Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and Future of Music Coalition (FMC) submitted formal opposition to the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to deny the transaction. In 2010, both WGAW and FMC raised concerns about the vertical integration between Comcast and NBC Universal. Both organizations urged the FCC to adopt strong conditions to protect content creators, consumers and competition. But, in the three years following the merger, Comcast has used its market power to harm content competitors on both traditional and online content platforms.
Review of Antitrust Consent Decrees for American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers / Broadcast Music, Inc.
FMC is pleased to submit the following comments to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division regarding the agency’s review of the Antitrust Consent Decrees for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).
Moreover, FMC appreciates the opportunity to address the persistent issues songwriters and independent music publishers face under the Consent Decrees, particularly a lack of transparency and failure to balance interests in the licensing of musical works for public performance, as well as barriers of entry for independent songwriters, publishers, and music platforms.
FMC commends the DOJ for reviewing the Consent Decrees and also commends the agency’s commitment to maintaining healthy competition within the licensing of musical works for public performance. Despite some differences with ASCAP, BMI, and the major consolidated music publishers, we are encouraged that many in this space have expressed their desire to nurture songwriters and expand transparency. We see the DOJ’s review of the Antitrust Consent Decrees as an important opportunity to highlight issues with consolidation of the music industry, the need for fair compensation and stronger protections for songwriters, as well as the importance of ASCAP and BMI to a functional music industry that serves the needs of creators.
FMC’s comments will address the specific questions raised by the DOJ in soliciting public comment for the review.
FMC explains why the FCC's current proposal offers insufficient protection for network neutrality
On July 15, 2014 Future of Music Coalition submitted the following comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s public docket on Net Neutrality. You can submit your own comments at http://www.fcc.gov/comments ; reply comments will be due in mid-September.
Casey Rae appears before Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet
The following written testimony was submitted to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and The Internet, in advance of VP for Policy and Education Casey Rae’s appearance on July 15, 2014.
Artists Call For Title II Reclassification To Prevent Discrimination Online
On July 15, 2014, a consortium of musicians submitted the following joint comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s public docket on Net Neutrality. You can submit your own comments at http://www.fcc.gov/comments or email openinternet [at] fcc [dot] gov; reply comments will be due September 10. Participating musicians included:
Laura Ballance, bass player/ song writer for Superchunk, label owner, Merge Records
Charles Bissell, The Wrens
Rebecca Gates, musician/composer/producer
Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs
Jim James, My Morning Jacket
Cheston Knapp, writer/editor
Sean Meadows, Everlasting the Way
Brett Lyman, co-owner of M’lady’s Records, Machu Picchu Records, and musician (Chain & the Gang, Hive Dwellers)
Neal Morgan, drummer/arranger
Thao Nguyen, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Alec Ounsworth, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Jeff Parker, (guitarist/composer/jazz musician/member of Tortoise)
Tony Perez, Editor, Tin House Books
Martín Perna (saxophone- Antibalas, Daptone Super Soul Revue)
Nate Query, bassist, The Decemberists, Black Prairie
John Strohm, musician and attorney
Laura Veirs, singer-songwriter
Michael Wells, Dir. of Ops & Digital Light @ In The Attic Records, bassist for The Walkabouts
Groups Call for the Strongest Rules Possible to Prevent ISPs from Picking Winners And Losers Online
On July 15, 2014, a consortium of national arts and culture organizations submitted the following comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s public docket on Net Neutrality. You can submit your own comments at http://www.fcc.gov/comments ; reply comments will be due September 10. Participating organizations included:
Americans for the Arts
American Community Television
American Composers Forum
Association of American Arts Presenters
Chamber Music America
Future of Music Coalition
League of American Orchestras
Independent Film & Television Alliance
National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
National Performance Network
Network of Ensemble Theaters
New Music USA
Performing Arts Alliance
Theater Communications Group
Writers Guild of America West
Submitted in the Music Licensing Under Title 17, Part One and Two hearing
Future of Music Coalition submitted the following testimony in June 10 and June 25, 2014 House Judiciary subcommittee hearings on “Music Licensing Under Title 17, Part One and Two.” As Congress reviews existing copyright law, we recommend that it consider the needs of creators alongside the goal of expanding the legitimate digital marketplace.
Copyright Office sought stakeholder input on the state of music licensing in America
Future of Music Coalition submitted the following comments to the United States Copyright Office in its Notice of Inquiry on the Music Licensing Study. We examine the state of music licensing in America, and how the current regime impacts musicians, songwriters and independent labels.
Musicians and other creators send message to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler demanding meaningful rules to preserve Internet openness and accessibility
FMC reiterates importance of access and innovation for musicians and other creators
On March 21 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted the following comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s latest public docket to preserve a level online playing field.
Examining the DMCA's "safe harbors" and notice-and-takedown requirements
On March 13, 2014 Future of Music Coalition submitted written testimony before the House Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet to coincide with a hearing on Section 512 Title 17 of the US Copyright Code. This section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) governs how internet companies respond to instances of copyright infringement committed by their users.
On January 28, 2014, Future of Music Coalition submitted written testimony to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet in its hearing on “The Scope of Fair Use.”