WASHINGTON -- The Amusement and Music Operators Association hosted a webinar on Feb. 4, which offered a lively discussion on taxes, product safety, smoking regulations and copyright law enforcement, among other topics affecting amusement vendors. AMOA president Gary Brewer of Brewer Amusement (McMinnville, TN) moderated the 45-minute session that featured a national legislative briefing from attorney Mike Zolandz of Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal, the law firm that represents the music and amusements industry in the nation's capital.
Because 2010 is an election year for all House members and 33 U.S. senators, Zolandz told participants, prospects for major legislation are not strong. Any major changes to federal tax laws, he reported, are most likely to come in the form of tax breaks designed to encourage small and midsize businesses to hire more workers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, said Zolandz, may require testing of children's toys for cadmium, a lead replacement, under the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. However, he noted that so far the main result of the act has been greater voluntary cooperation by industry with government enforcement efforts. Any testing requirement could impact products vended by amusement merchandising machines and awarded by redemption operations, he said. Read more about this year's cadmium scare.
On the tobacco front, Zolandz reported that under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, passed by Congress in 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received new power to regulate the tobacco industry. "It's quite possible this year we will see an end to cigarette vending as we know it" when the FDA issues regulations to enforce the act, he said. But he also noted that "quiet efforts" are underway to moderate the impact of any new regulations on cigarette vending.
Asked about recent efforts by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to collect public performance license fees from some operators of Raw Thrills' Guitar Hero Arcade videogame, Zolandz said the question represents "a significant intellectual property issue" but that the impact of ASCAP's recent moves remains unclear.
In his concluding remarks, AMOA's president urged industry members to remain vigilant about legislative developments and to take a proactive stance to protect the trade's interests.
The Feb. 4 presentation by AMOA is first run in the association's first-ever webinar series, which combines a teleconference with Internet interactivity. Although the premiere was open only to AMOA's board of directors and PAC donors, future webinars are likely to be part of the association's member communications and service offerings.