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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bush on performance royalties: "I have, like, no earthly idea what you're talking about"

From Eliot Van Buskirk in Wired:
In the US, television and terrestrial radio stations don't have to pay statutory royalties to artists and labels, the way net radio, satellite, and cable stations do.

Last Thursday, July 19th -- the same day SoundExchange and webcasters met with Congress to try to hash out fair royalty rates for webcasters -- President George W. Bush indicated to attendees of a speech at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, that he hadn't exactly been following those proceedings.

From an official press release from Bush's Press Secretary:

Question: Mr. President, music is one of our largest exports the country has. Currently, every country in the world -- except China, Iran, North Korea, Rwanda and the United States -- pay a statutory royalty to the performing artists for radio and television air play. Would your administration consider changing our laws to align it with the rest of the world?

The President: Help. (Laughter.) Maybe you've never had a President say this -- I have, like, no earthly idea what you're talking about. (Laughter and applause.) Sounds like we're keeping interesting company, you know? (Laughter.)

Look, I'll give you the old classic: contact my office, will you? (Laughter.) I really don't -- I'm totally out of my lane. I like listening to country music, if that helps. (Laughter.)

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