U2 dragged into performance rights legislation debate

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U2 dragged into performance rights legislation debate

Wed Jun 10, 2009 @ 02:11PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


Bono Has U2's reign as the most popular band in the world come to an end — or is there some conspiracy at hand?

The musicFIRST Coalition has filed a formal request that the FCC investigate and take action against radio stations for allegedly abusing their license to the airwaves. The group issued a statement that highlighted some of the allegations in the complaint, including "one major radio group dropped a top selling artist's record after he spoke in support of performance rights legislation."

The AP took a look at the filing (which has yet to be released) and says "there are hints (the top selling artist) could be U2 frontman Bono."

AP doesn't spell out those hints, so we're naturally a little skeptical. Still, U2's new album isn't selling as well as previous hits.

Controversy over performance rights legislation has raged for many moons, as broadcasters have fought with artists over royalties from radio airplay. Recently, the National Association of Broadcasters expressed confidence that it would be able to defeat the measure in the U.S. House. In reaction to the charges made by musicFirst in its FCC filing, NAB president Dennis Wharton said it was "an act of desperation by a record label lobby losing on Capitol Hill and in the court of public opinion" and pointed out that Will.i.am, a proponent of the legislation, currently held the No. 1 slot on Billboard's Pop 100 Airplay Chart.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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