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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Senator backs musicians' fight
Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow wants an end to multi-year contracts
A California state senator is planning to draft a bill which could free recording artists from what some musicians term "restrictive" multi-year contracts.

Artists such as Courtney Love and Don Henley have lobbied the California state legislature saying such contracts are unfair and a form of "indentured servitude".

Courtney Love
Courtney Love has campaigned against the contracts
Under current California law, record companies have a special exemption allowing them to sue musicians and singers for albums not produced over the course of seven-year contracts.

State senator Kevin Murray, a Democrat who represents the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, plans to introduce a bill in January challenging the exemption.

Potential bill

The music industry has said it will strongly oppose the bill.

Musicians such as Love, Henley, the Dixie Chicks, LeAnn Rimes, Tom Petty and Sheryl Crow have formed the Recording Artists' Coalition (RAC), which claims long contracts leave musicians unable to compete on the open market.

"He feels there is something off about (recording artists) being the only group to be singled out and feels that something should be done," said Yolanda Sandoval, a spokeswoman for senator Murray.

The lobbying and potential bill is set against a legal background in which stars such as Courtney Love and the Dixie Chicks are suing their record companies, saying their contracts are unfair.

'Thoughtful debate'

Hilary Rosen, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents the record companies, said that the music industry strongly opposed the proposed change.

"This is going to be a long, hopefully thoughtful debate," Ms Rosen said.

"I don't think the case has been proven in the marketplace that a change is needed," she added.

The RIAA has said the multi-year contracts counteract the money spent by record companies on the majority of musicians who fail in the business.

See also:

06 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Bands launch 'missing' money writ
07 Sep 01 | Music
Courtney Love back in court
28 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Courtney sues management
10 Jun 01 | Film
Courtney hit by hotel thieves
29 Aug 01 | Music
Dixie Chicks sue Sony for $4m
03 Oct 01 | Music
Love seeks control of Nirvana
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