The future of the GOP is in anti-cronyist shifts in policy that favor free markets, not specific companies or industries. This is one important way we can demonstrate to the American people that small government is for the little guy, and big government is for the big, well-connected guy.
One way to do this is to defeat the Local Radio Freedom Act, which is a massive giveaway to big, well-connected media companies, at the expense of their competitors as well as individual musical performers.
This all comes down to respecting copyright. Sometimes I get accused of opposing copyright. I don’t. I support it. And yet it’s the DC establishment, not me, that has created a massive copyright carve-out for one specific industry: radio stations.
If you or I were to take a recording of Elvis’s original recording of Blue Suede Shoes, or the titular song from the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and put it online, we’d be infringing on copyright. We’d be at risk of having our stuff taken down under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or worse. If it were widespread enough, we could face criminal penalties.
But not terrestrial radio stations. They get a special rule. They don’t have to pay royalties on pre-1972 recordings. Why? Because someone wrote that into the rules in DC. Note that satellite radio has no such special carve out, nor does any other industry. Is that fair?
Of course it’s not fair, and that’s why a drive is on to end the carve out, and make terrestrial radio stations R-E-S-P-E-C-T copyright, even on Aretha Franklin’s breakout hits. It’s the right thing to do.
What’s not the right thing to do is to shut down this movement with the Local Radio Freedom Act, which would be better named the Local Radio Freedom From Respecting Copyright Act. The LRFA is purely picking winners and losers. It’s wrong, it gives the appearance of corruption, and must be opposed.
Photo by Gregory Maxwell, licensed under the GFDL