Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat…
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TikTok’s Latest Assault: Ripping Off American Artists and Songwriters

Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat to U.S. national security.

In recent days, we’ve witnessed in real time another emerging TikTok threat reaching the headlines:  The threat it poses to intellectual property protections, which undergird America’s status as the most artistically and musically productive and influential nation in human history.

Universal Music Group, however, has decided to stand up and fight back by removing its catalog of songs – including artists like Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish – from TikTok.

Tone-Deaf TikTok has built its aggressive worldwide empire largely on the backs of music created by American artists, as even its corporate leadership openly admits.  As TikTok’s very own…[more]

February 08, 2024 • 12:44 PM

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CFIF Urges Support of the American Music Fairness Act Print
By CFIF Staff
Friday, December 02 2022

In a letter sent today to members of the House Judiciary Committee, the Center for Individual Freedom ("CFIF") reiterated its support of H.R. 4130, the American Music Fairness Act.  

Read the entire letter below.


December 2, 2022

United States House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary 
2138 Rayburn House Office Building 
Washington, D.C.  20515 

Dear House Committee on the Judiciary Members and Staff:  

On behalf of the Center for Individual Freedom (hereinafter “CFIF”) and over 300,000 supporters and activists across the nation, I write in support of H.R. 4130, the American Music Fairness Act.  

Since America’s founding, intellectual property protections have provided the foundation for our nation’s unmatched innovation, prosperity and growth.  Our Founding Fathers specifically crafted Article I, Section 8 to grant Congress the authority “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”  They knew that innovation is critical to economic growth and quality of life, and that the only way to fully encourage innovation is to reward and protect it.  

As a direct result, from the first days of the phonograph, through the jazz age, through the rock era, through disco, through country, through hip-hop and every other popular musical iteration since its advent, it’s not by accident that we lead the world in the same manner in which we lead in such industries as cinema and television programming.  We can thank our nation’s emphasis on strong copyright protections.  America’s legacy of unparalleled copyright protection and free market orientation have cultivated a music industry unrivaled in today’s world or throughout human history.  

Unfortunately, federal law regarding performing artists’ rights currently fails to uphold that legacy.  

Specifically, existing law secures royalty payments for songwriters and others when their songs are played on AM-FM terrestrial radio, but not for the performing artists themselves.  Deepening that odd paradox, performance artists receive compensation when their songs play on digital broadcast platforms like the internet, satellite and cable.  Terrestrial radio broadcasters, however, somehow remain exempt under existing law from having to pay that same compensation.  There’s no logical or legal justification for that paradox, which amounts to crony capitalism in the form of a special government carve-out.  

The American Music Fairness Act would finally correct that anomaly and secure performance rights for artists whose recordings are played on terrestrial radio (with exceptions maintained for smaller “mom-and-pop” stations).  In 2021, we at CFIF joined numerous fellow conservative and libertarian organizations in a coalition letter to the House amplifying the need to pass this legislation to protect artists’ natural intellectual property (IP) rights:  

The Constitution protects intellectual property rights and specifically delegates to Congress authority to protect creative works.  Artists who produce music therefore have the right to protect their intellectual property, including both the writer and performer of a given recording.  When a given work is transmitted, common sense and basic fairness dictate that the medium of transmission should not affect the existence of these rights.  Yet, under the current regime, a performer does not hold effective or enforceable rights to his or her product when it is distributed through terrestrial radio.  

Opponents of the American Music Fairness Act illogically suggest that it would somehow introduce needless market regulation, but the obvious reality is that the market is already regulated in the discriminatory manner described above.  The American Music Fairness Act would merely level the playing field and respect the value of the artists’ works.  

Opponents of H.R. 4130 also falsely attempt to portray it as creating a “tax.”  That is simply inaccurate.  Whereas taxes are compulsory payments to government, royalties are voluntary payments to broadcast others’ creations.  This bill relates to royalties, not taxes.  

By any standard of fairness and logic, performing artists possess a natural right to enjoy the fruits of their labor and creativity, just like any of us do for our work.  After all, artists already receive performance payments from non-terrestrial radio stations, reflecting the value of their work.  The American Music Fairness Act simply corrects an unfair and illogical federal carve-out.  

Accordingly, we urge you to support this long-overdue legislation.  Thank you very much for your attention to this important matter, and please contact me at your convenience with any questions or comments.  

Sincerely,  
/s/
Timothy Lee 
Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs 
 
Notable Quote   
 
"Mitch McConnell changed the direction of the world. He stopped the destruction of the Republican Party by opposing, delaying and weakening and ultimately defeating the drive for 'campaign finance reform' that would have left union bosses as the sole power in America. Senator McConnell herorically sculpted the present Supreme Court and saved the second amendment, religious liberty and free speech.…[more]
 
 
— Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform
 
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