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"Usually, when things go wrong in the entertainment business, somebody says, 'Hey, let's sit down and work this out.' I think [the record companies'] arrogance has prevented them from doing that."
THE MORE, THE MURRAY-ER
State Senator Kevin Murray Updates on the Repeal of the Seven-Year Statute

While California Sen. Kevin Murray did not speak at this week's Democratic fundraiser at The Firm (click here for that story), he did give us the following update on a number of relevant issues:

Can you update us on the potential for compromise? Has this issue advanced at all in terms of the two sides coming together?
No, it hasn't, really. There are various people talking about various things, but certainly nothing concrete in the way of a compromise has been moved forward.

Is it still your goal to pass SB 1246 as it stands?
Yes, I am clearly pushing to pass it as it is.

Has the issue of "tacking," or the resetting of the seven-year clock when a deal is renegotiated, been raised with you at this point?
Yes. I think that everybody on both sides has used that as a potential meeting place. But even that is bogged down in how you define what it is. How do you define when it's a new contract? Frankly, it's a valid theory, it's just ambiguous in terms of where the parties are now.

Why won't anyone from any of the record companies go on the record about this issue? Some say it's their fear of alienating artists, others say its arrogance.
I think the latter. With very few exceptions, none of them have called me, either. Usually, when things go wrong in the entertainment business, somebody says, "Hey, let's sit down and work this out." I think [the record companies'] arrogance has prevented them from doing that.

Do you interpret their silence as a presumption that they will win and that 1246 will not be passed?
I don't see, given the current climate, given the fact that the international AFL-CIO has weighed in on the artist side, how anyone could come up with the assumption that they're going to win. I mean, it's a fight and things happen—you could win, you could lose—I don't know how anybody could come up with the conclusion that it's a slam dunk.
     And you know, the idea of them angering artists is one thing, but think about how much good will the record companies could engender for themselves with artists if one of them stepped forward and said, "We don't want to be fighting with artists—let's work this out." Would not every artist say, "God, that's a forward thinking record executive who cares about artists"? But they haven't said that. Instead, they've had a very adversarial position.
     Another thing is, they're vulnerable on so many issues. I get e-mail virtually every day from someone else saying, "Hey, good work on what you're doing, but have you looked at this?" It seems to me that the record companies would have a vested interest—and I'm not expecting anybody to just roll over here—in stepping forward and talking to the press, to at least try to explain their position so that they don't seem like bad guys.

Rep. Gephardt has been called "intellectually correct" rather than merely politically expedient. Is this your approach as well?
I want to find the best possible solution, and I don't disagree that compromise is often the best possible solution. But this is also a game of posturing and leverage, and pretty much everybody understands that. The event at The Firm this week was, frankly, the result of Jeff [Kwatinetz] really twisting arms and dragging people, kicking and screaming sometimes, to the party. But once they're there, they get it. The best thing is that the artists now have a voice.

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