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the pending bills. Please remember that I'm a songwriter, not

a lawyer and not one of the business people who operate ASCAP on my behalf. I can't tell you the legal niceties, or the

operational details, but I do know unfairness when I see it,

and that's what I want to talk to you about.

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exemption if they got music from radio broadcasts, and used it

to enhance the atmosphere of their places. First, they said

my music was just "incidental" to their business.

Well, let

me say there isn't a songwriter alive who wakes up in the morning thinking "today I'll write some incidental music that

no one wants to pay for."

Go into any restaurant or tavern

and you'll see parsley on plates, pictures on walls, peanuts on bars, rugs on the floor, tablecloths on the tables. All

are incidental to the meal.

All are paid for.

And just as

they are paid for, music must be paid for.

of course, if the

music is so incidental to the meal that it is meaningless, the

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"incidental" the music is to their business.

Then they said that the radio station had already paid

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the restaurant owner was.

The restaurant owner

was using radio broadcasts in the same way that he would use

live musicians, to entertain the customers.

Only it costs him

less to do it that way.

Then they said that the existing law, which exempted

music use by home-style apparatus, was too vague and led to

too much litigation. That we agreed with. So we said (as did

bipartisan leadership of the Intellectual Property

Subcommittee), let's sit down together and work something out.

We made market

place offers to expand the "home-style"


We always have believed that this is a market

place dispute between the owners of property and the users of

property and should be decided in the market place.

All we

got was a stone wall.

We addressed many other points as well

we offered a code of conduct for both sides' dealings with

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group which had started the whole process, came to us and said

that they did want to work something out.

And, in the course

of a long hard day of bargaining, we and they reached an

agreement. It would clarify the law. And according to the Congressional Research Service, it would exempt almost 70% of

The only ones which would pay fees for radio and TV music would be places

the restaurants and taverns in this country.

24-690 - 97 - 3

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have reached, while not one, but two representatives of that

group for which an exemption of 70 plus percent of their

members isn't good enough, are here to complain.

One other major group behind this pernicious legislation is the Religious Broadcasters Music Licensing Committee. These

of religious format stations operating



commercial enterprises, which use

our music and are making

huge profits. Let me tell you just how huge.

The head of the

RBMLC, Ed Atsinger, owns 26 radio stations through his Salem

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in a year.

In 1994, the ASCAP license fees for all the Salem

stations amounted to six-tenths of one percent of their gross


That's the nature of the businesses which believe

that by using the word religion they are somehow relieved of

their obligation to pay a fair fee. What is worse, to adopt the viewpoint of the religious broadcasters is to state unequivocally that Christian music is to be valued less than

other forms of music.

We can never accept that premise.

And don't let them fool you

ASCAP royalties are paid for what's

performed on radio to those whose works are performed, and

those who write Christian music are paid for the performances

of their music.

Yet what is it that these owners of profitable commercial

broadcasting enterprises want? First, they want a complete exemption for the use of music in "religious services" which

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all types of radio stations and never mind that they make a

lot of money from those broadcasts.

Why is Christian music

worth less than other music? I surely don't think that it is, yet that is what they are telling you. Then, they want to

force ASCAP to offer a new form of license agreement because

they want to pay even less for the music they do use.


mind that they're seeking the same relief in federal court in

a case to be tried in four months and evidently can't wait for

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My music is all I've got. It's what I rely on to feed my family, to pay my bills, to provide for my retirement. It is my property. The owners of the restaurants and religious

stations testifying before you want to pass legislation that

amounts to a "taking" of my property. Surely this Congress in

particular believes in market place solutions.

Surely this

Congress in particular is opposed to the taking of private The representatives of these organizations complain about cost. Yet what they pay is a pittance. I think it's clear where fairness lies, and I hope that you won't let these


powerful interests run roughshod over this small businessman

and the tens of thousands of his struggling colleagues who work hard everyday to continue to make American music the most popular in the world.

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