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"No one really thought that the words ‘killing me softly with his song’ referred to murder, yet a content-based or age-based system would require equal and objective treatment."
——Hilary Rosen, RIAA President/COO
MORE D.C. FOLLIES: THIRD VERSE SAME AS THE FIRST
House of Representatives Hammer Music Industry’s Marketing Practices
RIAA President/CEO Hilary Rosen will do many things, but she won’t rap on command.

Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, where she and the industry you know and love were being harshly criticized, Rosen was asked by Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY) to recite the lyrics to Eminem’s "Kill You." After asking if Cubin would man the beatbox behind her, Rosen declined. She also declined to sing Slayer’s "Necrophobic," Too $hort’s "Two Bitches" and Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

"That's exactly what I expected," Cubin said when Rosen refused to bust a rhyme. "I did not want to embarrass you, but then I thought if people don't know what we are really talking about, it's easy for you to sanitize," the Congresswoman said. The song discusses in graphic detail Eminem raping his mother, abusing a hooker, taking cocaine and testifying before Congress.

Rosen took the opportunity to unveil a few new initiatives that the RIAA is undertaking to placate Congress, er, educate parents on Parental Warning stickers. These include targeted mass mailings of the new Parental Advisory label brochure, updating instore retail displays and Public Service Announcements featuring Quincy Jones. In the PSA, Jones directly addresses the under-18 set, telling them to report to a trusted adult if anyone offers to buy them a stickered album.

The Committee hearing is yet another following a report by the Federal Trade Commission last September that spanked the entertainment industry for marketing adult material to children. It called on Rosen to implement a ratings system more like the film industry’s, which labels specific reasons, such as nudity or drug use, for a movie’s rating. Rosen stated that it is impossible for words to be labeled in the same manner.

"What kind of system can distinguish between the words ‘I want to kill you’ said in an affectionate, sarcastic or ironic way from those being used literally? Song lyrics are by nature impressionistic and are often used symbolically. No one really thought that the words ‘killing me softly with his song’ referred to murder, yet a content-based or age-based system would require equal and objective treatment," she said, "And does anybody know when that new Lauryn Hill record is coming? Her shit is dope."

Lee Peeler, FTC Associate Director of advertising practices, testified that the Commission agrees with Rosen, saying that self-regulation, not legislation, is the solution. But Congress’ job is to make laws, so both the House and Senate have introduced bills to ban the "deceptive marketing" of adult-rated music, films and games to children.

The FTC will issue another report later this year, including the results of an undercover shopping survey and a review of industry compliance in response to last year’s report. Reports are scheduled right up until three months before election time, when Congress starts hitting people up for campaign donations.

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