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08 - July 31, 0001
OK to reprint published statements
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Gerry Cagle President of SFX
About SFX 02
FEB. 29, 2000
August 1, 2000
Cagle Pres of SFX 03

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Payola
Congressman Conyers, to Press for Tougher Enforcement of Laws on Payola Broadcasting: Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee plans to call hearings this year.

Judge's decision OK's free-speech protections to ordinary users who quote or reprint published statements on the Internet.

"The judge was right in saying that the Internet is a 'free-wheeling and highly animated exchange' of ideas. You don't want to hold ordinary people, who repeat and reprint those ideas, to the same standards or restrictions -- that you would hold a sophisticated publishing house or a newspaper -- who originally printed the statements."

By: Bernie Schwartz

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Internet Defamation Lawsuit Is Dismissed

Bernie Schwartz, Legal Review

 

Congressman Conyers, to Press for Tougher Enforcement of Laws on Payola Broadcasting: Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee plans to call hearings this year.

DETROIT -- It's been more than a decade since Congress last probed payola on the public airwaves. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) plans to revisit the issue by launching federal hearings this year to address increasing complaints from artists, consumer activists and record labels about questionable payments to radio stations to promote certain songs.

Conyers, 72, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has had serious concerns about the radio business since Congress passed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which eliminated most restrictions on broadcast mergers.

Conyers, an amateur musician himself, will air his views about payola and other industry issues at the Future of Music Policy Summit this week at Georgetown University in Washington. He sat down for an interview recently at his office in Detroit. Question: It's been 40 years since the federal payola statute was enacted. Considering the government's apparently lax attitude toward prosecuting payola violations, why not just get rid of the law?

Answer: Well, I'm sure there are people in the music business and the radio industry that would immediately advocate that kind of an idea. But getting rid of the law would be a bad idea.

What we really need to do is beef up enforcement. I want to hold informational oversight hearings this year to look closer at potential new forms of payola that appear to be everywhere now. We need to examine the negative impact that consolidation in the radio business has had on the public airwaves.

Q: Given its past enforcement actions, the Federal Communications Commission seems more concerned about bad lyrics than bribes. The FCC has imposed only one payola fine on a major radio group and seems to have no problem with the U.S. record labels' paying out an estimated $100 million-plus a year to influence airplay on stations owned by the nation's biggest broadcasters.

Maybe payola laws are obsolete in a deregulated radio environment.

A: I disagree. Payola is against the public interest. It turns the whole notion of encouraging and promoting this important part of our cultural heritage into a commercial vehicle.

Some of the most imaginative art on earth was born in the hearts and souls of American composers. I believe that music is one of our major contributions to world culture. Allowing creativity to be stifled because of questionable commercial endeavors or legal gymnastics is just plain wrong.

I believe that's what the government originally had in mind when they implemented laws prohibiting the influence of money on airplay.

Q: We're no longer just talking about some tiny independent radio station pocketing a few bucks under the table, but about giant broadcast corporations devising questionable practices to generate "nontraditional revenue" to sidestep payola laws.

A: Well, at least that explains why I'm hearing so much bad music so often lately. This stuff that is cluttering up the public airwaves should be an embarrassment to the folks who run the industry.

Q: Do you think the investigators at the FCC really care?

A: The environment for enforcement is not alive in America anymore. There seems to be a new environment now, one that says unless you are a flagrant, notorious violator, no one will take you to task anymore.

It's like no one is paying attention to the federal laws on the books. Nobody is encouraging anyone to go out and investigate practices at radio stations that seem suspicious or fraudulent. We no longer live in an enforcement environment that is favorable to the consumer.

[FCC Chairman] Michael Powell makes [former FCC Chairman] Bill Kennard look tough now, doesn't he? But we can't just keep acting like we're blind.

Q: What can be done?

A: The FCC and the antitrust division of the Justice Department need to start paying attention to the citizen groups, community activists and musicians who have all thrown up their hands in disgust.

A lot of artists' careers get compromised after they get to the top because of these [payola] transactions. And many more never even get a chance to get near the top. They get squeezed out.

In my opinion, it's not just the artist who loses. The culture loses.

Q: It's illegal to air a song for money or anything of value without saying so on the air. The way record labels seem to sidestep the law is by hiring independent promoters to pay stations annual budgets to avoid the quid pro quo restrictions of the payola statute. What's the difference?

A: I think that maybe some clever lawyers helped the promoters think this annual budget idea up. It's really pretty nifty.

I don't know how it fares against the legal prohibitions that are in effect. Because no one has ever really examined these deals, I don't know if they are successful in skirting the law, or if a court would just pull this aside as a cover window dressing to accomplish what was, in fact, prohibited.

We intend to look into this matter more carefully.

Q: Most independent record promoters these days base their budget deals with radio stations on the bank formula concept. The bank is an internal log that lists the date the station airs a song followed by a specific dollar figure the station will be paid by the artist's label. Isn't that a quid pro quo?

A: Well, the bank log clearly pulls away the guise of the annual budget. If the station is being credited on a per-play basis, it changes things pretty drastically, doesn't it? It's not good.

I don't know how they expect to explain this bank idea in the light of long-standing regulations against payola in the industry. We'll have to ask the promoters and the radio corporations and the record companies.

Q: How has consolidation after the Telecommunications Act affected the public airwaves?

A: It's bad. You know, the original idea was that leasing the airwaves to broadcast companies would be a service for our citizens. Back when the government started issuing broadcast licenses, it repeated over and over again: "The airwaves belong to the people."

The idea was that we were only renting these guys the airwaves on a temporary basis subject to their living up to the modest regulations.

But now we seem to be going in a different direction. Less regulation. Less oversight. Less enforcement. Competition is drying up. Monopoly is on the rise. The whole thing is becoming more of a business and less of an arena for communication about new musical ideas.

It's bigger than a simple dispute between the artists and the radio conglomerates. This is a matter of national interest.

The problem has been growing since the Telecommunications Act. The protections for the airwaves just aren't the same anymore.

There is not enough oversight of these kind of transactions. The government has been snoozing. We intend to probe these issues and ask a lot of questions this year. Thanks to By CHUCK PHILIPS, TIMES STAFF WRITER

 

///

 

08 - July 31, 0001 J
Judge's decision extends free-speech protections to ordinary users who quote or reprint published statements.
A judge in Northern California has thrown out a defamation lawsuit against a San Diego woman whose Internet postings included derogatory comments about two doctors--a ruling that some lawyers say extends free-speech protections to ordinary users of the Internet.

Free-speech advocates said Monday that Alameda County Superior Court Judge James A. Richman's ruling probably will provide a road map for higher courts grappling with the boundaries of acceptable speech on the Internet.

"Boundaries of permissible public discourse have evolved significantly in the last half-century," Richman wrote last week in his 27-page ruling. "This is an extremely important decision," said Ann Brick, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney in San Francisco. "The judge was right in saying that the Internet is a 'free-wheeling and highly animated exchange' of ideas. And you don't want to hold ordinary people, who are engaged in this discussion, to the same standards or restrictions that you would hold a sophisticated publishing house or a newspaper."

Stephen J. Barrett, a retired psychiatrist from Allentown, Pa., who runs "Quackwatch" and a Canadian doctor, Terry Polevoy, sued several individuals, including Ilena Rosenthal, for defamation after the two camps clashed on the efficacy of alternative medicine.

"Quackwatch" is a 32-year-old nonprofit organization to "combat health-related frauds, myths, fads and fallacies." It focuses on distributing information "that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere." Its Web site was launched in 1996.

Rosenthal runs an Internet support group for women who have had problems with breast implants. In postings on Internet news groups, Rosenthal called Barrett and Polevoy "quacks," and that Barrett was "arrogant" and a "bully" who tried to "extort" her.

She also posted a message to a newsgroup that said, "Quackwatch appears to be a power-hungry, misguided bunch of pseudoscientific socialistic bigots," among other things.

Richman dismissed the libel and defamation claims against Rosenthal in part because the doctors were public figures and with only limited protection under libel laws.

The judge also found that Rosenthal was not liable for the comments of others that she posted on news groups. He found that Rosenthal, "is not the publisher or speaker" of statements made by a third person," and thus "she cannot be civilly liable for posting it on the Internet."

Richman based the decision on the 5-year-old federal Communications Decency Act, which provides immunity to Internet service providers and "users."

Brick and other attorneys said there have been several high-profile cases involving Internet service providers, such as America Online, but this was one of the first cases--if not the first--that extends the same protections to ordinary users.

"This revolutionizes the law on defamation" as it applies to republishing commentary on the Internet, said Mark Goldowitz, an Oakland attorney who represents Rosenthal.

Christopher E. Grell, an Oakland attorney handling the case for Barrett and Polevoy, said they disagree with Richman's ruling and would appeal.

"He's extending immunity to where Congress never intended it to go," Grell said. "This was meant to protect the innocent users, but the judge is granting immunity to someone who, without trying to investigate or check the facts, republishes false information. This basically cancels out libel law where it currently exists."

Dale Herbeck, chairman of Boston College's communications department, said hundreds of other Internet defamation lawsuits are percolating in courts around the country. "This is a lively area of controversy," Herbeck said.

By MEG JAMES, TIMES STAFF WRITER. LA Times, July 31, 0001 ///

 

TUES. FEB. 29, 2000
(San Antonio and New York) --
Lowry Mays, Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. (NYSE: CCU) and Robert F.X. Sillerman, Executive Chairman of SFX Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SFX) announced today that the companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement. SFX is the world's largest diversified promoter, producer and venue operator for live entertainment events. As of the market close on February 28, 2000, the transaction values SFX Entertainment at approximately $4.4 billion. This includes the assumption of approximately $1.1 billion of SFX's debt net of cash.

SFX provides integrated promotion, production, venue operation and event management services for a broad variety of live entertainment events. SFX currently owns or operates 120 live entertainment venues in 31 of the top 50 U.S. markets, including 16 amphitheaters in the top 10 markets. In addition, SFX is a leading fully-integrated sports marketing and management company, representing more than 650 professional athletes and is the largest producer and promoter of specialized motor sports shows in the U.S.

Including pending acquisitions, Clear Channel will own and operate radio stations and/or outdoor advertising properties in virtually every U.S. market where SFX owns and/or operates live entertainment venues. Lowry Mays said: "This transaction allows Clear Channel, through SFX, to gain immediate leadership in the highly attractive live entertainment segment, while taking advantage of the natural relationship between radio and live music events. It leverages the marketing and promotional strength of Clear Channel's broadcasting and outdoor advertising platforms and adds a new component to the marketing solutions, which Clear Channel can provide to its customers to help them sell their products.

Additionally, it creates an exceptional platform for Clear Channel to pursue initiatives relating to the Internet and music." Robert F.X. Sillerman said: "Having known the Mays family for almost 20 years and having watched the spectacular growth of the company and performance of their stock, it was a surprisingly easy decision to accept their offer. In the ever-expanding world of media and entertainment, the combination of distribution and content is becoming increasingly important. While what we have created as the world's leader in live entertainment and sports marketing is gratifying, there is no question that the combination with Clear Channel will accelerate our growth and further strengthen our already excellent prospects. This is a classic win-win situation for our shareholders and for Clear Channel's shareholders."

///

Clear Channel Closes Its Merger With SFX Industry Veteran Brian Becker to Take Over as Chairman and CEO of SFX

San Antonio, Texas - August 1, 2000 -
Clear Channel Communications, Inc. (NYSE: CCU) announced today that the company has closed its previously announced merger with SFX (NYSE: SFX). Pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement signed by the Companies on February 29, 2000, each SFX Class A shareholder will receive 0.6 shares of Clear Channel common stock for each SFX share, and SFX Class B shareholders will receive one share of Clear Channel common stock for each SFX share, on a fixed exchange basis. Brian Becker, an industry veteran with 20 years of experience and former Executive Vice President of SFX, has been named Chairman and CEO of SFX. In this capacity, Becker will oversee all operations of SFX.

"This merger allows Clear Channel, through SFX, to gain immediate leadership in the highly attractive live entertainment segment, while taking advantage of the natural synergy between radio and live music events," said Lowry Mays, Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Communication, Inc. "Moreover, a seasoned executive such as Brian Becker at the helm ensures that the mutually-beneficial relationship between the two companies will be fully realized and expanded upon in the years to come."

"While I move on to new challenges, I can say with confidence that Brian Becker is an exceptional leader who brings unmatched experience in successfully guiding and growing a company in the midst of, as well as after, a merger," said Robert F.X. Sillerman, Executive Chairman of SFX. "Additionally, the fact that he is already highly respected within SFX, as well as among the executives at Clear Channel, makes him the most qualified person to take SFX into a new era."

"I am eager to move SFX forward as part of the Clear Channel family," said Becker. "Augmenting SFX's extensive network and superior talent with Clear Channel's unparalleled global resources will offer previously unimaginable opportunities in live entertainment to sponsors, performers and marketing partners."

About Clear Channel Communications and SFX Clear Channel Communications, Inc., is a global leader in the out-of home advertising industry with radio and television stations and outdoor displays in 40 countries around the world. Including announced transactions, Clear Channel operates over 900 radio and 19 television stations in the United States and has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally.

Clear Channel also operates more than 700,000 outdoor advertising displays, including billboards, street furniture and transit panels across the world. The Company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.

SFX is the world's largest diversified promoter, producer and presenter of live entertainment events. SFX currently owns and/or operates 120 live entertainment venues in 31 of the top 50 US markets, including 16 amphitheaters in the top 10 markets. In 1999, more than 60 million people attended approximately 26,000 events promoted and/or produced by SFX, including more than 7,800 music concerts, 13,300 theatrical shows, 1,400 family entertainment shows and 520 specialized sports shows.

SFX produces and promotes live music events, as well as develops and manages touring Broadway shows in 55 markets. SFX is also a leading fully integrated sports marketing and management company specializing in the representation of athletes and broadcasters, integrated event management, television programming/production and marketing consulting services in sports, news and other entertainment industries. Additionally, SFX Sports produces and promotes specialized motor sports events.

For further information: Investor Inquiries: Randy Palmer, Vice President of Investor Relations, Clear Channel/Gabrina Soliz (210) 822-2828 web-site: www.clearchannel.com.

Media Inquiries: Sean Cassidy/Lenore Moritz (212) 685-4300 website: www.sfx.com

Certain statements in this release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

///

June, 2000 - Gerry Cagle joined the SFX
when it was know as Album Network -- eight years ago, and most recently, was Executive VP, Publishing for SFX Multimedia. Mr. Cagle replaces Steve Smith, who was recently promoted to a corporate Executive Vice President role at SFX.

Mr. Cagle will oversee
all of SFX Multimedia's activities, including: the publication of seven trade magazines for radio broadcasters, music retailers and record industry executives, including the Album Network, Network 40 and the Urban Network; Live Tonight, a consumer publication distributed at all SFX venues; plus the popular broadcast industry reference publication The Yellow Pages of Rock; a research business that gathers radio airplay and music retail information for record labels, artist managers, retailers and broadcasters; production and distribution of network radio special events and live concert programming; and coordination of several broadcast industry conferences, including the Top 40 programmers' "Summer Games."

Mr. Cagle has enjoyed a 30-year
career in radio programming at some of the most legendary Top 40 stations in the country, including KHJ in Los Angeles, KFRC in San Francisco and WAPP New York. The five-time winner of the Major Market Programmer of the Year Award took time off from the broadcast industry in 1980 to serve as Chief of Staff for the Governor Cliff Finch of Mississippi. Mr. Cagle has also authored three published fiction novels, including Sheet Music last year.

"Gerry Cagle has the experience and vision to continue the growth and expansion of SFX Multimedia, while remaining focused on strengthening its solid reputation as a resource for the entire music industry," said Brian Becker, Chairman and CEO of SFX.

"I'm thrilled to be part of the largest live entertainment company in the world. Continuing to grow the core business of SFX Multimedia while creating synergistic opportunities between SFX and Clear Channel is a challenge I accept enthusiastically. The future of our combined companies is bright and I'm proud to be a part of it," said Cagle.

About SFX
SFX, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications (NYSE:CCU), is the world's largest producer and marketer of live entertainment events. SFX currently owns, operates and/or exclusively books 130 live entertainment venues, including 44 amphitheaters in the U.S. Each year, more than 60 million people attend approximately 26,000 events promoted and/or produced by SFX, including: Live music events; Broadway and touring Broadway shows; family entertainment shows; and specialized sports and motor sports shows. SFX also provides strategic sports marketing sales and consulting services to professional and college teams, leagues, venues and properties.

In addition, SFX owns
a leading full-service talent management company, specializing in the representation of athletes and broadcasters. SFX is headquartered in New York City. More information is available at http://www.sfx.com .

Clear Channel Communications, Inc., headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a global leader in the out-of home advertising industry with radio and television stations, outdoor displays and entertainment venues in 40 countries around the world. Including announced transactions, Clear Channel operates over 1,120 radio and 18 television stations in the United States and has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally. Clear Channel also operates more than 750,000 outdoor advertising displays, including billboards, street furniture and transit panels across the world.

Respectfully ,
Bernie Schwartz,
Editor/Legal - TVI Magazine
By MEG JAMES, TIMES STAFF WRITER. LA Times, July 31, 0001

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