Issa/ Eshoo Oppose Tech Mandates, Support Innovation

Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced H. Con. Res. 4, the “Creativity and Innovation Resolution.” This resolution highlights the importance of rewarding creators for their works, as well as protecting innovations from unnecessary mandates.

The debate currently being waged in Congress is whether radio broadcasters should be allowed to use copyrighted intellectual property without compensation because of the perceived promotional benefit to the owner of the creative work. Broadcasters are by law exempt from paying royalties to owners of sound recording copyrights. Past-proposed amendments in the House and Senate to the 1995 Act would eliminate the exemption for broadcast radio, thus requiring them to pay royalties to the owner of the sound recording.

The Property Rights Alliance has long been an advocate of the right of performers to collect royalties from broadcasters when their recordings are played on the radio, but unfortunately as a way to resolve this dispute there have been proposals to mandate that all mobile devices carry an FM receiver. An FM chip mandate is both unnecessary and harmful to tech innovation. In the current marketplace, consumers are offered hundreds of choices from smartphones to tablets, as well as a multitude of ways to enjoy music on these devices. If there truly is a high demand, the appropriate response comes from the market. Onerous government mandates do nothing more than drive up costs for consumers for a function they may not want.

I applaud Reps. Issa and Eschoo for standing up for artists’ rights while resisting harmful government mandates.