By Wendy Mills
February 6, 2001
Ra-TV 150 class

In the world of music, the censorship effort repeats itself virtually every generation. Until recently the efforts to censor music have been concentrated more on the state level. However, for the first time in a decade, disturbing efforts to censor music have appeared on the federal level. In the wake of numerous school shootings, the whole country is looking for solutions to the youth violence problem. Banning certain kinds of music is not the answer.

Fears concerning youth violence are well founded, but witch-hunts are not. Henry Jenkins, director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at a a December 1999 discussion of media violence at the Freedom Forum World Center said, “In the wake of Littleton, we’ve lived through a period of moral panic.” He added, “Moral panics are a bad basis for public policy.” He went on to say that the way to solve the problem is through 1) Education, 2) Parental control, and 3) Realizing that in solving the problem “one does not fit all.”

The Recording Industry Association of America has established a website called http://www.riaa.com that explains and defends the rights of recording artists. RIAA President and CEO Hilary Rosen has testified on Capitol Hill and met dozens of times with Congressional leaders on behalf of recording artists. In addressing creative responsibility during a Senate hearing, Rosen firmly defended the rights of artists to express themselves and added historical perspective to the debate. “Music has been, and always will be, a way for one generation to distinguish itself from another with young people giving each generation of music new life and new energy. Times change and the music changes but then, as now, the music reflects the times.”

RIAA is currently working with state legislatures in all 50 states to ensure that the rights of artists are preserved for the enjoyment of everyone. At the state level RIAA, works to educate policy makers on the music industry’s efforts to help parents understand the music that their children are listening to and on the Federal level they are battling the House and Senate against restrictive initiatives.