Welcome to a new edition of 3Qs, where we (kind of) famously ask three questions of an interesting person in the tech policy neighborhood. Our guest today is Mitch Glazier, the RIAA's Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Industry Relations. (In what I fear may be precedent setting, a biography is after the jump).
Let's face it, the RIAA isn't exactly a popular institution outside the Beltway. However, the RIAA has as much sway as ever in the domains where Glazier is involved. For that, and because I've got to know Mitch as a thoughtful, self-aware type, I asked him the following three questions...
1) How would you describe the RIAA’s relationship with the technology industry now as compared to the “Napster Years” of 1999-2002?
We’re in a better place. Like every relationship, it’s complicated and we have definitely matured together. When you think of what the record companies went through – changing almost every aspect of their business model for digital releases (which, despite legitimate criticism, can never happen overnight), giving up distribution, and gaining legal clarity – the Napster years almost seem like ancient history. The early years were rocky but the obvious interdependence, the Supreme Court decision in Grokster and the desire of tech companies to get exclusive distribution contracts has forged an understanding that didn’t exist before. Despite several threats to break up, I think we’re going to make it.
2) What's the single biggest misperception about the RIAA that is commonly held by those active voices in the Internet community (bloggers, media, advocates)? And, how do you think this will change?
Some will always view RIAA as a monolithic enforcer that wants to stop the technology revolution that is giving music back to the people and harness the digital world so the evil establishment can control it. Or something like that. One time after I finished speaking to students at a University a guy with a Linux t-shirt told me I was responsible for killing the Internet and asked me how I felt about it. All I could say was, “Not too bad.” The truth, of course is that the RIAA is full of some of the most committed, hard-working music lovers you could ever meet who have the tough job of trying to help the industry protect its creative property and adapt to new challenges. From statutory licensing and music publishing rules to enforcement and First Amendment protection, RIAA has been at the forefront of change that will determine how to keep music an art in which people still want to invest in the digital marketplace. It’s been great to be in the middle of it, even if it hasn’t felt so great sometimes.
Once the digital transition is more complete and understood, and the debate is sorted out to the satisfaction of consumers, I think the need for a punching bag will fade, the Linux t-shirt will be traded in for a Linux briefcase, and EFF will start running the creative commons.
3) You guys throw one of the better parties of the year in Washington (the Holiday party). Ever think about coming out to Silicon Valley and building bridges with free drinks and top-notch music performances?
Now that’s a good idea. We do know how to throw a good party. We have been talking about joining with a tech group to hold a discussion in Silicon Valley with music community representatives and tech execs to keep the lines of communication open on policy issues. Maybe we should end it at the right venue with some great music and a few (meaning several) drinks. Hell, we might even achieve interoperability.
Mitch Glazier is Executive Vice President, Government and Industry Relations for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Washington D.C.-based trade association that represents hundreds of member record companies responsible for creating, manufacturing and distributing more than 90 percent of all legitimate sound recordings sold in the United States. Glazier serves as the chief advocate for the recorded music industry before policymakers and government officials and is responsible for industry relations, including the Gold and Platinum Sales Award Program.
Glazier, because of his role in policy debates over new media, was named as one of the nation’s “50 most influential men under 37,” by “Details” magazine.
He has been at the forefront of many of the nation’s cutting-edge policy issues, such as copyright law in the digital age, First Amendment-related challenges, royalty streams for record companies and artists, and international copyright agreements.
Before his tenure with RIAA, Glazier served as Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over all intellectual property law, including patents, copyrights and trademarks. In his capacity as Chief Counsel, Glazier served as the chief advisor to the Subcommittee and was responsible for working with Members of Congress to craft legislation and amendments, organize legislative and oversight hearings and markups, and analyze and evaluate legislation referred to the subcommittee.
Glazier also served as law clerk to Judge Wayne R. Andersen, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and practiced law at the Chicago law firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg as an associate in commercial litigation.
Glazier holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Policy, cum laude, from Northwestern University. He is a member of the Bars of the State of Illinois and the District of Columbia.