FCC Commissioner at Vanderbilt

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

After a promising start, an FCC commissioner’s speech at Vanderbilt University on Thursday of last week (11/1) devolved into a rehash of piracy issues and record industry positions that would have been topical in the Napster-era.

After a promising start, an FCC commissioner’s speech at Vanderbilt University on Thursday of last week (11/1) devolved into a rehash of piracy issues and record industry positions that would have been topical in the Napster-era.

Billed as a talk about the FCC and the music industry, Commissioner Deborah Tate used her pulpit to talk about the dangers that piracy and downloading have on the U.S. economy. The FCC is the government agency responsible for allocating and regulating the use of American airwaves.

Relevant topics, such as the FCC’s payola investigations from earlier this year or the proposed merger between satellite radio providers XM and Sirius, were generally overlooked. Other important topics where the FCC intersects with the music industry, like small terrestrial broadcasters and cross-media ownership in small markets, were touched on only briefly.

While discussing the effects of piracy on the American economy, Tate used numbers from the International Federation of Phonographic Industry. The IFPI is a global trade group representing the music industry, causing some audience members to question the validity of the numbers.

Responding to a reporter’s question, Tate suggested she is not pushing the agenda of the music industry.

“I’m just so proud to be from Nashville and I’m so proud of the music industry, so I’m gonna do all that I can. And now, it is not just a problem for the music industry, but a problem for every industry that have any type of copyrightable materials and so that is costing the American economy between 200 and 250 billion dollars a year,” she said.

Audio of Deborah Tate’s speech is available through Vanderbilt News Service here


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