Legislation Discussed At California Piracy Hearing

Artists, label executives, and laborers appeared before California legislators yesterday (Oct. 3) in Sacramento to address the affects of music piracy on the state's economy, Billboard Bulletin report

Artists, label executives, and laborers appeared before California legislators yesterday (Oct. 3) in Sacramento to address the affects of music piracy on the state's economy, Billboard Bulletin reports. It marked the first hearing before the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media, chaired by Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn (D-Saratoga), to address the digital delivery of music.

Former Supreme Mary Wilson spoke about the affects of online piracy on artists. "We have to teach the fans," she said. "They don't want to see me on the street, homeless or begging for money." Producer/songwriter Glen Ballard said that if piracy continues, few songwriters will be able to support themselves.

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) president Cary Sherman spoke about the affects of illegal peer-to-peer trading on legitimate services such as MusicNet, FullAudio, and Pressplay. "We have to get a handle on this problem in order for legitimate services to prosper," he said.

During the hearing, Cohn said she plans to draft a package of bills to be introduced next year that will combat various forms of piracy, from illegal downloading to the selling of bootlegged CDs at swap meets. Future hearings will address how piracy is affecting the software, video, and film industries.