COLUMBUS, OH --The Amusement and Music Operators Association is stepping up its efforts to combat music piracy and to ensure a level playing field for law-abiding jukebox operators, said AMOA president Andy Shaffer of Shaffer Services, based here.
AMOA supports operators around the U.S. who are gathering on-the-ground intelligence about jukeboxes with unlicensed music. This information is being forwarded to the Recording Industry Association of America and performing rights organizations, which include ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. "They are very aware of what we are doing," Shaffer told VT. "One idea we have is to pursue a piracy reporting hotline for operators."
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While not singling out any particular jukebox manufacturer or music provider, Shaffer said AMOA might ask all digital music providers to provide licensing documentation and to show that their music is fully in compliance with all requirements relevant to music labels, PROs and other music industry groups.
At present, according to Shaffer, jukebox music piracy appears to be concentrated in only a few states, including Indiana, Florida and Ohio. Under previous AMOA presidents, operators in New York and California also reported having to compete with jukeboxes that played unlicensed music.
A strategic ally in AMOA's intelligence-gathering effort and communication with the recording industry is Bob Fay, director of government relations at AMI Entertainment Network. Fay is a former FBI agent with extensive experience in battling intellectual property crimes. Shaffer said Fay has been instrumental in the current campaign against unlicensed music played on jukeboxes.
"My goal," said Shaffer, "is to have full transparency on licensure from all music providers and digital jukebox manufacturers." He suggests creating a protocol that allows operators to report "rogue jukeboxes" or "potential black markets" when they discover them. "We want to ensure that there is an organization -- not AMOA -- to monitor that reporting," he said.