SoundExchange role in royalty debate questioned

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Eliot Van Buskirk has written a commentary available at wired.com which links royalty disbursing organization SoundExchange to the Music First Coalition, which is lobbying to extend performance royalties from the internet and satellite audio services to AM and FM radio. While it’s not surprising that the organization would like to find another source of cash to collect and disburse, Van Buskirk says the lobbying appears to be in conflict with the organization’s charter. He says "…the Copyright Act explicitly limits how the nonprofit can spend the money it collects," and lobbying activities are not on the short list of approved expenditures. It’s not that Van Buskirk has taken sides in this dispute – he says that in his opinion musicians and recording labels deserve compensation for over-the-air spins. But SoundExchange’s lobbying creates at the very least the appearance of a conflict of interest. "In keeping with the spirit of the law," he concluded, "SoundExchange should immediately sever its ties to musicFirst and any other lobbying group it funds or assists, and fulfill its role as a neutral administrator of fees."


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