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June 19, 2017 | International

RIAA Slams Music’s ‘Value Gap,’ Offers Solutions to Help Modernize NAFTA In Comments to U.S. Trade Rep

We recently filed a comment with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) as part of its effort to develop negotiating objectives and positions for modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Notably, in our comments we urged USTR to oppose any provisions in any free trade agreement that would perpetuate the music industry’s “value gap,” which is “the biggest threat to the future sustainability of the music industry,” including the exportation of overbroad safe harbors which distort the music marketplace and lead to below-market rates for artists and creators.

One excerpt of our submission:

“According to one recent report, this safe harbor exemption acts as an enormous subsidy to the dominant incumbent video-streaming service [YouTube], a subsidy worth approximately $650 million to $1 billion annually. This company-specific industrial policy places one incumbent service at a fundamentally unfair advantage over other legitimate music services, which do not receive this enormous discount that was never intended by the legislative drafters, and instead negotiate commercial licenses with rights holders.”

Read the entire filing here.