A coalition of 125 celebrity musicians, including pop singer Katy Perry, have joined forces with anti-tax advocates including Grover Norquist and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) to oppose an intellectual property “reform” bill that critics charge expands government to the detriment of the free market.
Opponents say the Internet Radio Fairness Act, being pushed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), would mandatorily lower the licensing fees paid by Internet radio giant Pandora, moving the royalties system further away from a free market and instead entrenching a system in which government sets compensation rates while picking winners and losers.
It has anti-tax and free market groups including Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), NTU, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, the American Conservative Union and Citizens Against Government Waste crying foul on those grounds.
In his letter to members of Congress, ATR’s Norquist asserts “the standard in IRFA moves in an even worse direction towards forced below-market rates.”
Artists are concerned that if passed, the bill would amount to government artificially limiting the earnings that musicians – celebrity and not – are able to make from their trade in the marketplace.
That has Perry and others including rapper Ludacris, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Sheryl Crow, Maroon 5, Pink Floyd and Rush speaking out via a letter published this month in Billboard magazine.
In that letter, the musicians assert that Pandora is “asking Congress once again to step in and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon.” The signatories note that for over a decade, they have accepted a discounted royalty rate from Pandora because they are “big fans” of the service.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed legislation this week, and proponents hope to advance it in the next Congress.