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On the issue of protecting the value of the copyrights of songwriters and music publishers, I make no apology for fighting as hard as possible against the RIAA proposals.
NMPA’S DAVID ISRAELITE ANSWERS
RIAA ON DIGITAL DILEMMA
Music Publishers Return Record Labels’ Volley
The NMPA sent out the first missive (see hitsdailydouble, 1/28), the RIAA followed (see hitsdailydouble, 1/29), and now the ball is back in the music publishers’ court.

The battle over mechanical royalties for digital music is heating up, as the Copyright Royalty Board begins what promises to be a year-long battle between the two sides.

Here is NMPA boss David Israelite’s response to the RIAA’s previous positioning statement:

I am pleased the RIAA has responded because I think it is extremely important that every songwriter and music publisher in America has the benefit of the information in this dialogue. The vast majority of the songwriting and music publishing industry will not have the benefit of sitting through the trial.

Despite the characterizations in the RIAA message, I do not believe our effort to educate songwriters and music publishers about the Copyright Royalty Board proceeding has used "inflammatory language," "rancor" or "hyperbole."  In addition, I do not think our message has been to "score political points.”

The RIAA reaction can be explained simply.  They are not comfortable with songwriters knowing the facts regarding their proposals to the Copyright Royalty Board.

FACT: The RIAA is proposing cutting the mechanical rate for physical products, such as CDs, from 9.1 cents to approximately 6 cents, a reduction of 33%.

FACT: The RIAA is proposing cutting the mechanical rate for digital downloads, such as iTunes, from 9.1 cents to approximately 5 cents, a reduction of 45%.

FACT: The RIAA is proposing a mechanical rate for interactive streaming of approximately .5% of revenue (1/2 of 1%).

If these proposals by the RIAA cause songwriters and music publishers to believe that there is a "civil war," cause "temperatures" to rise, or a belief that songwriters would be "damaged," then I submit it is a conclusion based on the RIAA proposals and the facts, not any language used to educate the songwriting and music publishing community about such facts.

It is true that piracy has hurt everyone in the music industry. However, based on these proposals, it is not true that we are "all in the same boat."

Let me further respond to the RIAA message.

It is NOT TRUE that current mechanical royalty rates in the US are already well above historical and international norms.

It is NOT TRUE that a percentage of revenue model on sales would be better for songwriters and music publishers.

And it is certainly NOT TRUE that record labels have been alone in feeling the pain caused by piracy and technological changes.

There are many issues on which the interests of record labels and music publishers and songwriters are aligned, and on those issues, I look forward to continuing our cooperation.

But on the issue of protecting the value of the copyrights of songwriters and music publishers, I make no apology for fighting as hard as possible against the RIAA proposals.

The RIAA message states the "last thing" they would want to do is "damage the songwriters," and to let them know if you have any questions.

My question is, do they honestly believe their proposals would not damage songwriters?

RIAA... You're on the clock.

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