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"The record labels have to understand that they can't keep treating artists as though they don't have any say on what happens to them...especially financially."
——California Senator Kevin Murray

CALIFORNIA SENATE
CALLS LABELS TO ACCOUNT

State Senators Escutia and Murray Call for Joint Hearing to Review Record Company Accounting Practices
If Democratic California State Senators Martha Escutia and Kevin Murray have their way, the record labels are going to be forced to open their books.

The pair have scheduled a joint hearing of the two committeess they chair (Senate Judiciary and Senate Select Committee on the Entertainment Industry, respectively) to "review the accounting practices of record companies."

The hearing would be held in Sacramento and is tentatively scheduled for July 23. Don't worry...that's more than enough time to shred your documents.

Said Escutia: "I am very alarmed by the recent stories in the press about past recording artists having to rely on public assistance or being denied pension benefits because they may have been shortchanged on their royalty earnings during their careers. Recording artists should not have to sue for what is rightfully theirs. If public taxpayer funds are being used to support artists who were cheated out of their royalty earnings, then we need to shift that burden back to where it belongs, to the record companies that failed to pay the artists their rightful earnings."

Hey, we told you to keep your receipts.

Added Senator Murray; "As the music business reinvents its business model to accomodate the digital world, it needs the artists on whom the industry is built to be its partner in creating a business model and fighting piracy. For this redefinition to begin, artists have to feel comfortable that they are being treated fairly with regard to the reporting and payment of royalties."

RIAA representatives will be invited to participate at the hearing. The committees will also be seeking testimony from lawyers and accountants representing artists that have sued for unpaid royalty earnings.

Added Murray: "The record labels have to understand that they can't keep treating artists as though they don't have any say on what happens to them...especially financially. The hearing will give both sides the opportunity to discuss and explore whether there is a problem in the accounting practices of the record companies. By the way, how much you think I can get on eBay for this autographed Don Henley photo?"

The RIAA's Hilary Rosen responded by calling the Senators' statement "a disappointment and a surprise."

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