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Audio Flag Draws Sharp Debate in House Subcommittee

Audio Flag Draws Sharp Debate in House Subcommittee

Clear Channel Radio EVP/Chief Legal Officer Andy Levin and CEA President/CEO Gary Shapiro told lawmakers that approving audio broadcast flag legislation would strangle the fledgling HD Radio rollout by introducing uncertainty into the market.
Approval of audio flag legislation could also end up costing consumers two to three times what they pay now for future satellite radio recording devices, said Shapiro during testimony before a subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee.
RIAA President/CEO Mitch Bainwol and Stewart Harris of the Songwriters Guild of America say illegal digital downloads are siphoning profits from the record labels and shrinking the livelihoods of artists and that Congress needs to step in and make terrestrial radio, satellite radio and the receiver manufacturers agree to a technological solution to prevent consumers from re-distributing content.
Audio flag talks continue between NAB and RIAA, both representatives said, while Shapiro urged the Telecom Subcommittee to consider flag bills for radio and TV separately.
Subcommittee members discussed a bill from Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., that authorizes the FCC to “impose licensing conditions on digital audio radio to protect against the unauthorized distribution of transmitted content,” according to the document.