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Henley Fires Back at RIAA

Hilary Rosen's SXSW comments draw Eagle's ire

March 19, 2002 12:00 AM ET

Days after Recording Industry Association of America president Hilary Rosen lashed out at the Recording Artists Coalition in a speech at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, accusing the group of oversimplifying its dispute with record companies over recording contracts, Eagles and RAC leader Don Henley fired back.

"Hilary Rosen is, and always has been, the one who engages in gross oversimplification of the issue designed to elicit a sympathetic response from the media, lawmakers and the public," Henley says. "Ms. Rosen well knows that this is a very complex matter that will require lengthy discussions by the concerned parties and their legal experts. When Rosen tosses off such thumbnail synopses, she is not only misrepresenting the position of recording artists but also further damaging the already-fragile atmosphere surrounding this issue."

In an effort to roll back California Labor Code 2855, which bars recording artists from opting out of personal service contracts after seven years, members of the RAC in recent months testified before the California state legislature in Sacramento, claiming that making recording artists the lone exception to the rule is unfair. Last month in Los Angeles, on the night before the Grammys, artists such as No Doubt, Beck, the Eagles, Billy Joel, Dixie Chicks and Eddie Vedder played fundraising shows for the RAC, raising more than $2.7 million.

Reacting to Rosen's statement that the RAC's portrayal of labels was akin to throwing "fresh meat" to the media, Henley replied, "Rosen, the RIAA and the labels it represents have yet to offer anything substantive to which the RAC and the artists which comprise its membership can respond. Hollow rhetoric and misinformation will not lead to meaningful negotiations. Further, Ms. Rosen should take care not to make disparaging remarks referencing 'meat' in the state of Texas. Ask Oprah Winfrey."

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