Friday, October 31, 2008

American Federation of Musicians speaks out about television "white spaces"

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) opposes allowing unlicensed, Internet devices to operate in the television “white spaces,” and urges the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider its upcoming proposal to open up the “white spaces” to these devices.

The FCC is currently considering allowing mobile Internet devices to operate in the “white spaces” – the frequencies between television channels. This is a very risky proposition that can have devastating effects on live concerts, Broadway productions, symphonic performances, and any event that uses wireless microphones. These Internet devices will operate on frequencies so close to those used by wireless microphones that there is a very high chance of interference, thereby ruining the audience’s experience.

In response to the FCC’s plan to vote on this issue at its upcoming meeting on November 4th, AFM, along with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Country Music Association, the Grand Ole Opry, The International Music Products Association and The Recording Artists Coalition, submitted a letter to the Commission outlining the group’s position and urging their reconsideration. AFM has also joined The Broadway League and other groups in running print ads that urge the FCC’s reconsideration.

AFM has long opposed allowing these devices to operate on frequencies so close to those used by wireless microphone users. The recent tests, conducted by the FCC, do not reliably prove that devices operating in the television “white spaces” can reliably detect when frequencies are in use by wireless microphones; therefore making the risk that these devices will interfere with wireless microphones too great.

Founded in 1896, the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), AFL-CIO, is the largest organization in the world dedicated to representing the interests of professional musicians. With more than 90,000 members, the AFM represents all types of professional musicians, including those who record music for sound recordings, film scores, radio, television and commercial announcements, as well as perform music of every genre in every sort of venue from small jazz clubs to symphony orchestra halls to major stadiums. Whether negotiating fair agreements, protecting ownership of recorded music, securing benefits such as health care and pension, or lobbying legislators, the AFM is committed to raising industry standards and placing the professional musician in the foreground of the cultural landscape.

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