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MX-80 BANNED

How American is "American"?

FTC Bars Export of the New MX-80 Release

San Francisco -- The Federal Trade Commission has announced its preliminary ruling barring export of the new MX-80 album, "We're an American Band." The ruling, one of the first under the recently enacted "Made in America" Act will remain in place unless the band, or its record label, Family Vineyard, can provide "demonstrative evidence as to the national origin" of band members.

So far, the band and its label have refused to participate in the FTC proceedings. Under the legislation, effective June 1, 2005, companies advertising products with the term "America" or "American" must file certification documentation with the FTC and U.S. Customs demonstrating that "all or virtually all" of the product-including processing and labor that go into the product-must be of U.S. origin. In this case, since the band is claiming "We're an American Band," as its album title, the FTC is requiring proof of national origin of each band member.
"This is so incredibly surreal," said lead singer Rich Stim, "that I can't even classify it as surreal."

Problems developed for MX-80-the eclectic avant rock band based in the Bay Area-when the Family Vineyard label sought a UPC bar code for the new album, scheduled for November, 2005 release. Under the new law, the organization managing bar codes (the Associated Code Council) must report any product names using the words "America," "American," "US," or "USA." Companies then have 90 days to provide certification to the FTC.

"Did Grand Funk Railroad have to send in their passports?" asked Stim, referring to the Michigan rock band that popularized the song used as title track of the MX-80 album. "What about Scientific American, American Airlines or American Idol? I find it disingenuous that the U.S. government needs proof of my citizenship in order for me to sell records in Holland. My guess is that they're only going after so-called subversive artists."

The FTC has denied that the agency is targeting artists and claims that enforcement of the new law is mandatory.

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