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News Releases

RIAA Commends Administration For Trade Report

April 30, 2009
Inclusion of China, Russia and Newly-Elevated Canada Highlight Major Gaps In Proper IP Protection

WASHINGTON – In response to today’s Special 301 announcement by USTR, Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, issued the following statement:

"The entire music community continues to face a serious and significant challenge from both online theft and traditional physical piracy.  From organized criminal syndicates involved in the production and distribution of pirate CDs throughout the world to extensive online theft in many regions, economic opportunities for the creative community are being severely undermined.  The good news is that this report, along with recent comments by Ambassador Kirk and other senior officials, show that the Administration appreciates that very fact.  This report reflects the Administration’s understanding that strengthening copyright protection and helping to build legitimate online and physical markets for U.S. copyright works is of primary national importance.  We look forward to working with Ambassador Kirk and his team in helping to realize his vision of a world in which intellectual property is effectively protected. The present environment is too frequently dominated by a lack of accountability – at both the governmental and private sector level. Intellectual property protection is too often thought of as ‘somebody else's problem.’ We need to end that mentality.

“Ambassador Kirk's decision to place Canada on the Priority Watch List is of particular moment. Canada joins Russia and China, among others, on a list of countries that the United States views as providing the least hospitable environments for the protection of intellectual property.  Canada's legislation remains seriously outmoded, and it has fallen far behind the rest of the developed world in providing a modern framework for effective protection.  Hopefully this announcement will help to propel action that is greatly needed by the American and Canadian creative communities alike. While some in Canada will seek to characterize this as an issue that divides Canadian and American interests, this characterization could not be further from the truth. If there is an underlying conflict, it is between creators – regardless of nationality – and those that would use their creations without authorization. Canada needs to determine where it stands on this issue.  

“The music sector continues to face significant problems with physical piracy.  Indeed in some countries like Mexico it remains our biggest problem. Piracy in Mexico has steadily eroded the entire infrastructure for the distribution and sale of legitimate music, resulting in tremendous job losses and the closure of countless small, family-run businesses.  
 
“Technological advances have the potential for greatly enhancing new cultural production. Unfortunately, the potential of legitimate markets is often undermined by suffocating online theft.  Only one in 20 downloads in the world is legitimate.  Governments can effectively promote innovation and competitiveness in both the communications and intellectual property sectors by enhancing responsibility and accountability in the online space.  Internet service providers (ISPs) must play a reasonable role in cooperating with right holders to address the use of their proprietary networks in the transmission of illegal materials. Governments should focus on finding ways to best encourage that cooperation, and in ensuring that companies and individuals who effectively induce or contribute to infringement are held accountable.”

“Today's Special 301 announcement reflects USTR's understanding of the importance of effectively addressing Internet piracy. Indeed, many of the countries that find themselves on the list published today are there primarily for their failure to take reasonable and responsible action in response to problems associated with the Internet. Perhaps no countries better reflect this than three countries placed on USTR's Priority Watch List (PWL): Canada, Russia and China. As noted, Canada has been elevated to PWL largely as a consequence of its failure to update its legal and enforcement regime to the requirements of the modern technological universe, lagging far behind its global trading partners. Russia remains on the PWL due in large part to its lack of action with respect to websites that have largely cloned the practices of the now shuttered allofmp3.com and which offer unauthorized music for a fee, and for its lack of action against the rogue societies that offer “licenses” that they are not authorized to grant. And China, while it remains on the PWL for a multitude of reasons, from our standpoint primarily for its refusal to prevent Baidu and other companies from operating online services based on providing access to infringing materials.”

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101


Forecast: A Golden Spring 'Round' Flo Rida

April 23, 2009
Dance Beats Have Hot March

WASHINGTON – March was a hot month for rapper Flo Rida whose ubiquitous smash “Right Round” swiftly certified to Gold, Platinum and 2x Platinum status in just one month, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s monthly count.  “Right Round,” featuring RCA singer Kesha, is the first release off Flo’s second album R.O.O.T.S (Poe Boy/Atlantic).

Popular artists Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga and Saving Abel also sprung forward in March, each receiving their very first RIAA-certified Gold album award:  

Nashville rockers Kings of Leon are no rookies to the biz.  Having already released three alternative albums on RCA, fans warmly welcomed their fourth, Only By The Night, which gained premiere Gold status for selling more than 500,000 copies since September.  All hail, they’re on fire!

It’s been a good year for Saving Abel whose self-titled debut album in March ‘08 off Virgin Records earned them their first G&P plaque exactly one year later.  And just last month, the Mississippi-born rockers received their first Platinum digital award when “Addicted” sold more than one million downloads.  

Fans are going gaga for none other than (you guessed it) Lady Gaga.  Her debut album, The Fame , certified Gold while her GRAMMY nominated hit “Just Dance” was downloaded more than three million times to earn the Interscope artist additional Gold, Platinum and 3x multi-Platinum digital kudos.

Additionally marching to the premiere Gold beat were digital single winners Shinedown, 3OH!3 and Duffy.  Each is polishing brand new brass for their respective hits “Second Chance” (Atlantic), “Don’t Trust Me” (Photo Finish) and “Mercy” (Mercury).  The RIAA wishes to congratulate each of its freshman Gold class graduates!

Two Sony Music Entertainment acts – both touring the U.S. this summer – welcomed timely Gold album awards in March.  Piano rock band The Fray’s self-titled hit record and Boss man Bruce Springsteen’s Working on a Dream each sold more than 500,000 copies in less than two months.  

Not far behind were two fourth quarter solo albums by pop-rocker Pink and R&B soul singer Keyshia Cole. Funhouse (LaFace) rose to both Gold and Platinum rank while A Different Me (Geffen) WAS certified Gold, respectively.  Pink’s highest-selling album is her 2001 release M!ssundaztood which has sold more than five million copies to date, while both Cole’s 2005 and 2007 R&B releases shine Platinum.

He’s bad! You know it!  The highest album certification in March went to Michael Jackson’s 1982 Thriller which now surpasses 28 million copies!  This puts Thriller (Epic) only one million shy of the highest-certified album of all-time: The Eagles’ Eagles/Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, currently reigning at 29 million.

Another strong multi-Platinum nod (13x!) went to Pearl Jam’s 1991 fan-favorite Ten (Epic).  Ten enjoys the company of a special group of 13x- certified artists/albums including the Backstreet Boys’ Millennium (Jive), Whitney Houston’s 1985 self-titled debut album (Arista), Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits 1974-1978 (Capitol); Prince and the Revolution’s Purple Rain Soundtrack (Warner Bros.) and Bruce Springsteen’s Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band Live 1975-1985 (Columbia).  

Two more Atlantic songs –T.I.’s “Live Your Life” and T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake’s “Dead and Gone”— went 3x Platinum and Platinum respectively, while yet another dance floor favorite Akon’s “Right Now (Na Na Na)” on Universal Records certified both Gold and Platinum.  

Now THIS is a race worth watching: Beyonce and Kanye West tied for the highest mastertone certification as their respective hit tones “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” on Columbia and “Heartless” on Island each rang 4x Platinum.  

In March, the RIAA awarded a total 34 digital singles, 17 albums, and 4 ringtones.  All certifications are calculated by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman.  Complete lists of all album, single, mastertone and video awards can also be accessed at www.riaa.com.

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi- Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Contact:
Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy
202/775-0101