[This post was authored by FMC Communications Intern Olivia Brown]
Vo Minh Tri (Viet Kang) and Tran Vu Anh Binh are Vietnamese protest musicians. Their songs combine militaristic percussion, traditional musical elements, lamenting vocals and saxophone and guitar solos, dealing with issues ranging from violent foreign invasions and territorial disputes to nonviolent protest. Their creativity reflects deep concern for the future of their country under the rule of an oppressive, speech-stifling government. Both artists have recently become victims of the oppression that they oppose, after YouTube videos featuring their protest music paired with images of war and oppression in Vietnam gained attention on YouTube.
Tri and Binh are some of the most recent victims in a long history of censorship in the arts. After their music videos were noticed by the Vietnamese government, they were charged with using propaganda to turn Vietnamese citizens against the government. Having been convicted, the two are now set to spend four and six years in prison, respectively. The U.S. State Department has called for their release, citing a history of oppression on the part of the Vietnamese government as well as a failure to comply with international standards for freedom of expression.
Last week, Russian punk rock art collective Pussy Riot was sentenced to two years of correctional labor colony for their guerrilla art performance five months ago in the Temple of Christ the Savior in Moscow. This judgement — for a 45-second unplugged performance mostly consisting of chanting and dancing in front of the church’s altar — seems to be absurdly cruel. Moreover, considering there is no criminal law that these feminist artists have broken. read more
File sharing site MegaUpload has recently been in the sights of both the RIAA and MPAA for hosting copyrighted content. In an ironic (and immensely satisfying) twist, a new video surfaced today from artists whom the RIAA claim to represent that sings the praises of MegaUpload.
The video was commissioned by MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom and features the likes of P. Diddy, Kanye West, Will.i.am, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx, Lil John, and more. read more
Washington, D.C.— Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians, commends today’s Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, which invalidates a California statute prohibiting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.
Media Access Project (MAP) filed an amici curiaebrief on behalf of arts organizations Future of Music Coalition, the National Association of Media Arts and Culture and Fractured Atlas. The brief argued that the broadly-defined California law was too vague and would have caused economic and expressive harm to independent creators.
The following statement can be attributed to FMC Deputy Director Casey Rae-Hunter: read more
[This post was co-authored by FMC policy counsel Christopher Naoum]
Another win for the good guys! Last week, the United States Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit shot down the constitutionality of the FCC’s indecency policy in ABC Inc, v FCC — a clear victory for free speech and creativity. Media Access Project filed an amicus brief in this case on behalf of FMC and Center for Creative Voices in Media that supported the basic position of ABC and their affiliates. You can find the brief here (PDF). read more
[Today’s post is by FMC Policy Counsel Chris Naoum]
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the amicus brief we filed with the Supreme Court in the case Schwarzenegger v EMA. On Tuesday, Nov. 2, we took the show on the road — or at least down the road — to the Supreme Court building to hear the oral arguments live and in person. read more
On September 17, FMC, NAMAC and Fractured Atlas — collectively the “Arts and Music Amici” — submitted a “friends of the court” brief in the Supreme Court case Arnold Schwarzenegger v the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
In 2005, the California enacted a law prohibiting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, requiring the video games to bear special labeling for sale in the state. A violation of the act would result in a $1,000 fine for each instance. But the legislation set out a very broad definition of “violent video game,” and attempted to apply an obscenity standard used for sexual content. Our argument is based primarily on the objection that the statute itself is impermissibly vague and therefore unconstitutional. We also point out that the lack of specificity with regards to the methods and means of content distribution in the California statute is of tremendous concern for creators and producers of all media. Today’s musicians are essentially small businesses that often distribute directly to consumers via the web. Therefore, an overly broad set of content-based restrictions that fails to clearly outline who is liable could put even those entrepreneurs working out of their basements on the hook for huge damages.
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