CEA takes a swipe at mandating FM in a PRA deal


A few days ago the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) was refusing to get involved in the Performance Rights Act (PRA) and the potential NAB deal with RIAA/musicFirst to have PRA mandate inclusion of FM radio chips in cell phones. No more. CEA is involved and opposed.

“The backroom scheme of the NAB and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,” said a statement issued by CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro.
“Forced inclusion of an additional antenna, processor and radio receiver will compromise features that consumers truly desire, such as long battery life and light weight.  Reducing product performance, mandating inclusion of features consumers don’t want, and replacing product innovation by companies like Amazon, Apple, Motorola and HP-Palm with government design mandates are not in our national interest,” the CEA chief complained.
“The performance royalty legislation voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee does not include this onerous and backward-looking radio requirement. Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do,” Shapiro concluded.

RBR-TVBR observation: NAB and RIAA believe they can muster enough pressure from Capitol Hill to neuter any opposition from CEA and CTIA (representing the cell phone companies) and push a PRA deal, if and when one is reached, through Congress on a fast track. But with the 111th Congress so near its end, a single Senator would appear to have the ability to knock the whole thing off the track by putting a hold on the legislation.

RBR-TVBR note: See RBR-TVBR Exclusive: Cell phones might sell Radio on PRA this report explains the value to all parties involved.