Congress Imposes Flat-Rate "Victim Fee" On Music Companies

Fake News written by Ann Oneemuss on Tuesday, January 21, 2003

from the seedy-cd-makers dept.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One day, Congress absolutely loves Hollywood, passing the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act 2, extending all copyrights "for one bajillion years or until the world ends, whichever comes first." The next day, Hollywood comes under the crosshairs of Senators looking for an easy scapegoat and a quick way to raise money.

This time, the scapegoat is the music industry for producing music with violent lyrics. "These evil studios are engaging in theft -- they are stealing the innocence from our beloved children! Won't somebody please think of the children?" testified the founder of the Coalition Of Outraged, Over-Protective Parents Demanding That Somebody Please Think Of The Children.

Earlier today, the Senate passed a bill requiring all music companies to pay a flat rate "victim fee" every time they release a song. The proceeds from this "fee" (don't dare call it a "tax"!) will go into a trust fund set up for victims of crimes inspired by violent music lyrics. In addition, the bill requires that any record label accused of producing violent lyrics must immediately reveal the names, addresses, and social security numbers of all of the lyricists and composers employed by the company. These people will be placed on a national Violent Music Offender List until they prove their innocence.

During a Congressional hearing, a member of the Coalition of Outraged Parents testified how her son became the victim of violent lyrics. "He was bullied at school by a bully who in turn had an abusive father that was set off by a particularly violent rap song on the radio one day. When will the insanity end?"

The member of the RIAA invited by Congress to give the usual token rebuttal said, "This isn't fair! Why should every music company pay a flat fee for every song even if those songs don't contain any violent lyrics?"

A Senator replied, "So you admit then that some songs do contain violent, harmful lyrics that are destroying our children?" The RIAA representative hesitated, adjusted his tie, and replied in a whimper, "Uh oh, I've been led into a trap..."

Later, when asked about the Violent Music Offender List, the RIAA lackey responded, "This isn't fair! Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?"

This provided the perfect opportunity for the Senator to go in for the kill. "So you admit that some music writers might be found guilty of writing violent, harmful lyrics that are destroying our children?" The RIAA rep whimpered, "Uh, well, um, *cough*, uhh... I've been trapped again... I really need to find a new line of work..."

The proposed bill still must face approval in the House, but many pundits expect that it will easily pass. "Sure, the majority of Senators and Representatives are in the back pockets of Hollywood interests, but they still have to show some kind of resistance in order to appease their constituents back home that believe we're all going to hell in a handbasket."

Geeks we interviewed had mixed feelings about the bill. Said one Slashdot regular, "Well, this serves the RIAA right for arguing that all Internet users are pirates -- if that's true, then we have the right to say that all RIAA executives are evil vermin conspiring to drown society in a bloody orgy of death and destruction. But I hate to see the First Amendment slashed yet again -- at this rate, the Bill of Rights will have more holes in it than Windows security."

Another person said, "I read somewhere that the average person sees several hundred thousand murders on TV and movies during their childhood. I haven't gone on a bloody rampage yet, but I could. Somebody should compensate me for this! If smokers can get big cash settlements from tobacco companies for lung cancer, then couch potatoes should get big cash settlements from the MPAA for mental anguish... I'm a victim, somebody give me money!"

RIAA chairman Bill "Everybody Is A Pirate Except Me" Thornen was unavailable for comment at press time.

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