Six wireless industry related trade associations sent Congress a letter on Monday that goes ballistic on the idea of mandating FM receivers in mobile handsets. The groups wrote in opposition to a reported deal between the National Association of Broadcasters and the Recording Industry Association of America in which the former would agree to the Performance Rights Act—radio stations paying royalties to performers as well as copyright holders. But there’s a catch: Congress would also require FM receivers in mobiles.
Bad bad bad, the groups insist.
It is simply wrong for two entrenched industries to resolve their differences by agreeing to burden a third industry – which has no relationship to or other interest in the performance royalty dispute – with a costly, ill-considered, and unnecessary new mandate. The proposed imposition of an FM chip mandate is not necessary for resolution of the dispute between performance artists and broadcasters and, if adopted, it would be bad policy for several reasons.
The reasons: It would jack up the price of mobiles; NAB and RIAA don’t know what they’re talking about, technology-wise; and there’s no need for an FM mandate for public safety because the wireless industry is working on a mobile broadcast emergency alerting system, as required by Congress.
And the letter concludes:
Calls for an FM chip mandate are not about public safety but are instead about propping up a business which consumers are abandoning as they avail themselves of new, more consumer-friendly options. Disintermediation should not be a basis for legislation, and a solution to the dispute between the recording industry and the broadcasters should not burden device manufacturers and carriers as they work to extend wireless broadband coverage to every American.
Signed, CTIA – the Wireless Association, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, the Rural Cellular Association, TechAmerica, and the Information Technology Industry Council.