The state legislators who want to restrict rock 'n' rap are back. The South Carolina legislators now propose to place a $1 tax on all sound recordings "depicting nudity or sexual activity." Once again, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) promises to fight, even though the RIAA did nothing to rally music lovers, or even to make them aware the bill was in process.
The RIAA has a miserable record in these cases. Bills are continually defeated only at the last minute--lending encouragement to next year's cranks. The exception came in Washington, where the RIAA supported the law and only participated in its repeal because it would have been a total embarrassment not to.
The RIAA is inherently unsuited to wage this battle because it also runs the industry's Tipper-sticker program, which is a guilty plea.
The South Carolina bill will go into effect July 1. Rather than marshaling the political power of music lovers, the RIAA, having screwed up once more, now plans to get Governor Carroll Campbell (a conservative Republican) to line-item veto it. Yeah....
In other news the RIAA doesn't want you to worry too much about, Michigan is considering a bill that would criminalize "explicit audio." Your friends at the RIAA also oppose a New York bill protecting artists' rights of privacy and publicity because it would give performers too much power versus record companies.