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OPPOSITION TO RIAA ONLINE INITIATIVE VOICED

Future Of Music Coalition To Face RIAA In Winner-Take-All Belly-Bucking Contest
There is a growing backlash against the RIAA and its planned online royalty collection initiative.

A grassroots organization for musical artists Friday (10/13) urged the U.S. Copyright Office against selecting the music industry trade group as an agent to collect royalties for streamed music online.

The RIAA planned to announce the new collective, to be called Soundexchange, on Oct. 11, but delayed the announcement, according to Reuters.

"We've been working on this a long time and all the details had not been completed to our satisfaction,'' offered Cary Sherman, general counsel for the RIAA, who said the announcement's delay had nothing to do with rising opposition.

Of main concern to those opposed to the RIAA's handling of the royalty issue is that such a mandate could very well give the RIAA too much power over the process.

"The RIAA does not speak for the entire music industry, it is funded by and solely represents the interests of the five major record labels," Jenny Toomey, director of the Future of Music Coalition, told Reuters. "We have already been contacted by artists and smaller labels who have expressed concern about a proposed government policy that could concentrate extraordinary power in one sector of the private economy."

Toomey said about 1,500 artists and independent labels have signed the three-month-old coalition's manifesto, which represents concerns of independent artists in the music industry as it evolves through technology.

The Future of Music Coalition Friday said an independent body would be the more appropriate vehicle to collect and distribute these funds.

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