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#2191415 - 12/02/13 12:25 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook

Apparently there was a complaint - from an MTNA teacher who wanted to poach students of another teacher and felt restrained because of the code of ethics.

Does that mean a teacher went up to a student who had a teacher, and told that student that he or she should study with this teacher instead of the current teacher? Or could it mean that a student who already has another teacher approached this teacher, asking to study with him or her instead?

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#2191436 - 12/02/13 12:54 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Thanks, Laguna. You are saying that the FTC should never be involved in the doings of a small organization, ever under any circumstances. Is that correct?


I believe this is where Laguna's reasoning is flawed, resulting in this complaint not being dismissed.

His position seems to be that the nature of MTNA as an organization makes it exempt from FTC attention.

The FTC seems to feel that it is not the nature of the organization but the nature of the violation that gives them jurisdiction. If the action taken is shown to be in "Restraint of Trade," then the FTC applies to anybody.

I'm not a lawyer myself. The FTC opinion sounds more in line with the history of the Sherman Act than Greg's, but who knows?

The FTC has 583 lawyers. The majority of them will be GS-11 or GS-12s, so these aren't the highly paid ones. The MTNA has legal counsel, even makes legal services available to its members, so most likely they have access to a more high powered lawyer than the FTC, and they've obviously been advised to comply.


gotta go practice
#2191437 - 12/02/13 12:55 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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FYI - I believe the argument is that since MTNA provides financial benefits to its members in the form of affiliate programs and group insurance programs, it waives its exemption as a non-profit. (Because while MTNA is a non-profit, it brokers services that directly affects the profits of its members.)

The whole issue is being wildly misinterpreted on a variety of fronts, and the WSJ article was written with an obvious political agenda, designed to ruffle feathers, which it obviously has.

Even the title of this post is a joke. "Music teachers, beware?" The FTC's actions have NOTHING to do with how music teachers conduct their business. It's about MTNA's actions as an organization, not what its members do.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2191453 - 12/02/13 01:20 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook

Apparently there was a complaint - from an MTNA teacher who wanted to poach students of another teacher and felt restrained because of the code of ethics.

Does that mean a teacher went up to a student who had a teacher, and told that student that he or she should study with this teacher instead of the current teacher? Or could it mean that a student who already has another teacher approached this teacher, asking to study with him or her instead?

From what I am told, a teacher wanted the freedom to go after other teachers' students and disliked the provision in the code of ethics which states that we will not do this. Does that help?


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#2191460 - 12/02/13 01:28 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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One thing I do understand now. Yesterday I read that this issue would affect every member of PianoWorld. I don't think it will affect people who live outside of the United States. Will it affect teachers within the United States who are not members of such organizations? Will it affect students / only students of teachers belonging to such organizations? Will it affect practising musicians who are not teachers and not students?

#2191476 - 12/02/13 02:45 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Will it affect teachers within the United States who are not members of such organizations? Will it affect students / only students of teachers belonging to such organizations? Will it affect practising musicians who are not teachers and not students?


That depends.

As far as the FTC ruling goes, it affects only MTNA board members who write the code of ethics. They had to change the language in the code. It does not impose any changes to any teacher or practicing musician. The association was targeted, but never individual teachers.

But is there any impact to an action (poaching students) no longer being prohibited by a code of ethics?

MTNA says no. They claimed the code was never enforced, and nobody ever had to follow it. So their position is no impact either way. That may or may not be true. I suspect it did inhibit the actions of a few teachers. And if so, technically the FTC was probably right that it was an illegal restraint on trade.

I also suspect there is no impact on the majority of teachers, who will act ethically regardless of the code.


gotta go practice
#2191521 - 12/02/13 04:39 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
One thing I do understand now. Yesterday I read that this issue would affect every member of PianoWorld. I don't think it will affect people who live outside of the United States. Will it affect teachers within the United States who are not members of such organizations? Will it affect students / only students of teachers belonging to such organizations? Will it affect practising musicians who are not teachers and not students?


As I said above, this has no effect on MTNA's membership, only the MTNA organization itself.

Other organizations are not affected.

And MTNA only operates in the US, so it won't affect anything in other countries.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#2191531 - 12/02/13 05:18 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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Thank you, Kreisler, for your input. smile

#2191532 - 12/02/13 05:18 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Kreisler]  
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Just released from MTNA to all members via email:

"MTNA - for a more musical tomorrow

"A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal took aim at the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) for its investigation into the code of ethics of MTNA and its affiliated state and local music teacher associations. At issue is the FTC’s claim against MTNA and the affiliates that provisions in their codes of ethics against teachers soliciting students from another studio somehow restrains trade and drives up the price of music lessons.

"Although MTNA demonstrated to the FTC that its code of ethics is voluntary and that the Association has never enforced the solicitation provision, the FTC offered MTNA the unappetizing choice of entering into a settlement or spending hundreds of thousands of membership dues dollars fighting the federal government. Moreover, the fight would have included affiliated state and local music teachers associations, which have neither the manpower nor the financial resources to take on the FTC.

"Given the alternatives, MTNA and its attorneys negotiated a consent decree with the FTC under which MTNA and its affiliated associations agree to purge their code of ethics and other policies of any solicitation requirements or other trade restraints. Other provisions of the settlement require MTNA to notify members of the settlement, conduct antitrust compliance training for national and state leaders, and disassociate itself from affiliated music teacher associations that engage in anti-competitive practices. While the consent decree, which still must be approved by the FTC, imposes these time-consuming recordkeeping and training obligations on MTNA, it was the only viable alternative for MTNA to pursue.

"The Wall Street Journal portrayed the proposed consent decree as a clear example of the federal government’s abusive practices against small businesses. The Wall Street Journal editorial labeled the FTC investigation and enforcement as “patently absurd” and “ludicrous.”

"Regardless of the relative merits of the FTC’s investigation, MTNA’s leadership, after consulting at length with MTNA attorneys, strongly believes that the settlement by consent decree was the best option for MTNA and its members. Once the consent decree is approved by the FTC, MTNA members will receive additional information about the terms of the settlement."






"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#2191533 - 12/02/13 05:22 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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Other than that, it's no big deal.


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#2191537 - 12/02/13 05:28 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Just released from MTNA to all members via email:

"MTNA - for a more musical tomorrow

"A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal took aim at the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) for its investigation into the code of ethics of MTNA and its affiliated state and local music teacher associations. At issue is the FTC’s claim against MTNA and the affiliates that provisions in their codes of ethics against teachers soliciting students from another studio somehow restrains trade and drives up the price of music lessons.

"Although MTNA demonstrated to the FTC that its code of ethics is voluntary and that the Association has never enforced the solicitation provision, the FTC offered MTNA the unappetizing choice of entering into a settlement or spending hundreds of thousands of membership dues dollars fighting the federal government. Moreover, the fight would have included affiliated state and local music teachers associations, which have neither the manpower nor the financial resources to take on the FTC.

"Given the alternatives, MTNA and its attorneys negotiated a consent decree with the FTC under which MTNA and its affiliated associations agree to purge their code of ethics and other policies of any solicitation requirements or other trade restraints. Other provisions of the settlement require MTNA to notify members of the settlement, conduct antitrust compliance training for national and state leaders, and disassociate itself from affiliated music teacher associations that engage in anti-competitive practices. While the consent decree, which still must be approved by the FTC, imposes these time-consuming recordkeeping and training obligations on MTNA, it was the only viable alternative for MTNA to pursue.

"The Wall Street Journal portrayed the proposed consent decree as a clear example of the federal government’s abusive practices against small businesses. The Wall Street Journal editorial labeled the FTC investigation and enforcement as “patently absurd” and “ludicrous.”

"Regardless of the relative merits of the FTC’s investigation, MTNA’s leadership, after consulting at length with MTNA attorneys, strongly believes that the settlement by consent decree was the best option for MTNA and its members. Once the consent decree is approved by the FTC, MTNA members will receive additional information about the terms of the settlement."


It's good to see something factual. I've never been good at being Cinderella, trying to distinguish lentils from lentil-shaped ashes.

#2191547 - 12/02/13 06:06 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Just released from MTNA to all members via email:

"MTNA - for a more musical tomorrow

"A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal took aim at the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) for its investigation into the code of ethics of MTNA and its affiliated state and local music teacher associations. At issue is the FTC’s claim against MTNA and the affiliates that provisions in their codes of ethics against teachers soliciting students from another studio somehow restrains trade and drives up the price of music lessons.

"Although MTNA demonstrated to the FTC that its code of ethics is voluntary and that the Association has never enforced the solicitation provision, the FTC offered MTNA the unappetizing choice of entering into a settlement or spending hundreds of thousands of membership dues dollars fighting the federal government. Moreover, the fight would have included affiliated state and local music teachers associations, which have neither the manpower nor the financial resources to take on the FTC.

"Given the alternatives, MTNA and its attorneys negotiated a consent decree with the FTC under which MTNA and its affiliated associations agree to purge their code of ethics and other policies of any solicitation requirements or other trade restraints. Other provisions of the settlement require MTNA to notify members of the settlement, conduct antitrust compliance training for national and state leaders, and disassociate itself from affiliated music teacher associations that engage in anti-competitive practices. While the consent decree, which still must be approved by the FTC, imposes these time-consuming recordkeeping and training obligations on MTNA, it was the only viable alternative for MTNA to pursue.

"The Wall Street Journal portrayed the proposed consent decree as a clear example of the federal government’s abusive practices against small businesses. The Wall Street Journal editorial labeled the FTC investigation and enforcement as “patently absurd” and “ludicrous.”

"Regardless of the relative merits of the FTC’s investigation, MTNA’s leadership, after consulting at length with MTNA attorneys, strongly believes that the settlement by consent decree was the best option for MTNA and its members. Once the consent decree is approved by the FTC, MTNA members will receive additional information about the terms of the settlement."


It's good to see something factual. I've never been good at being Cinderella, trying to distinguish lentils from lentil-shaped ashes.
"Real" and yet, they have to say "this was the best option" because they lack the funds to fight it. This is ridiculous.


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#2191549 - 12/02/13 06:08 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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Pretty much confirms everything in the journal op-ed piece.


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#2191582 - 12/02/13 07:27 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring

It's good to see something factual. I've never been good at being Cinderella, trying to distinguish lentils from lentil-shaped ashes.
If you read this press release with any discernment, you will note that the MTNA quoted at length the WSJ's critical characterizations of the FTC's tactics and actions. The MTNA did not dispute those characterizations. This was almost certainly a subtle way for the MTNA to thumb its nose at the bullying FTC without coming out and directly criticizing it.

#2191611 - 12/02/13 09:10 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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Say what you will about our ragtag band of piano teachers, but we got some smart people running the show. laugh


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#2191622 - 12/02/13 09:50 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
FYI - I believe the argument is that since MTNA provides financial benefits to its members in the form of affiliate programs and group insurance programs, it waives its exemption as a non-profit. (Because while MTNA is a non-profit, it brokers services that directly affects the profits of its members.)



Kreisler,

Many non-profits offer such services to their members when cash flow will support it. My own professional association is a 501(c)3, offers such services, and retains its tax-exempt status.

I've sat on the boards of two 501(c)3's. And such a non-profit can 1- engage in business including selling things, 2- make a profit, and 3- offer business and professional services to its members. The only thing it can't do is sell an equity interest in the corporation, nor can it distribute profits to shareholders (because there can't be any). The National Safety Council is one such non-profit. They are one of the leading developers and resellers of safety training and education materials in the country, with very healthy sales every year.


Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-dempster/34/325/6b9/ (my day job)
#2191638 - 12/02/13 10:33 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: TimR]  
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Tim,

"I believe this is where Laguna's reasoning is flawed, resulting in this complaint not being dismissed...His position seems to be that the nature of MTNA as an organization makes it exempt from FTC attention."

I don't believe I've ever had such trouble making myself understood to seemingly intelligent people.

No, that is not my concern directly. My concern has to do with the fact that the FTC is trying to break up a monopoly where no monopoly can exist. It is not possible for the MTNA to establish or maintain a monopoly in this industry. Nobody needs to join the MTNA to teach music privately. Since anyone can teach music without joining the MTNA, it cannot be possible for the MTNA to restrain the trade as such. The MTNA is powerless to erect a barrier to entry in the music teaching industry. Its members join on a purely voluntary basis. Adhering to its provisions of membership is done strictly at will. The MTNA is powerless to sanction a member for violating its membership rules. Even if it could, such an action would in no way pose a barrier to engaging in the business of teaching music. And that is the only basis on which the FTC's complaint could be valid within the law- if their rules actually constituted a monopoly on the industry, or posed any real threat to competing interests. They don't, and it's insane to say they do.

Now, has the MTNA engaged in sharp practices against competition over state lines? Of course not. They're not Google or Microsoft, who have done everything they could to sabotage their competitors and create a monopoly in the software market. They've both been the subject of a good deal of ongoing anti-trust litigation internationally, and still are. To say the MTNA is somehow in the same boat as them is incredibly misguided, and possibly malicious.

Here's another example. The NCAA is a very powerful and rich non-profit that regulates sports at the collegiate level everywhere in this country. Dues for participation are very expensive; rules of membership are very strict and harshly enforced. It sanctions members all the time, and for lots and lots of money in fines. If there ever was an interstate monopoly on an industry, the NCAA would qualify as an effective barrier to entering the industry of college sports.

And I don't see the FTC investigating them for the same things they say the MTNA does, or worse.

My concern is not just about this intrusion. It's about what ELSE they'll do if they can win this initial argument. Are they going to come in next and say that the educational requirements to join it are another "restraint of trade"? it follows along the same illogic to say so. After all, we're not doctors or lawyers. I can see them saying already, "Music teachers don't need a college degree to teach piano, do they?" Where will it stop? Is the MTNA to be surveilled and overseen like they did Microsoft?

The MTNA has broken no laws. It is a private association that should have the freedom to regulate itself just like the Boy Scouts do. Heck, it has much less money than they do!

Morodienne is right about the reason there's no contest. The MTNA simply does not have the money to litigate.

And I think you are very mistaken and wrong to think this is not going to have any effect on the members, or that the FTC has a valid complaint.


Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-dempster/34/325/6b9/ (my day job)
#2191644 - 12/02/13 10:49 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook


"Given the alternatives, MTNA and its attorneys negotiated a consent decree with the FTC under which MTNA and its affiliated associations agree to purge their code of ethics and other policies of any solicitation requirements or other trade restraints. Other provisions of the settlement require MTNA to notify members of the settlement, conduct antitrust compliance training for national and state leaders, and disassociate itself from affiliated music teacher associations that engage in anti-competitive practices. While the consent decree, which still must be approved by the FTC, imposes these time-consuming recordkeeping and training obligations on MTNA, it was the only viable alternative for MTNA to pursue.



In other words, the MTNA did what every other professional organization in the past 40 years has had to do, make its Code of Ethics comply with US law.

The strategy of hoping not to be noticed worked for 40 years, until one of their members filed a complaint.

I don't think that's a particularly good law in this application, nor do I think there's any huge societal good being served, but it remains the law.


gotta go practice
#2191647 - 12/02/13 11:03 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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I will confess in public, that I have suffered a lot due to unions (always in Greece, but I suspect this is close) and I do not enjoy it! I understand the reason d'etre of a union, but there's a line to draw and that line is that a union cannot be above the law, or the FTC (if I understand it correctly, again).

#2191668 - 12/03/13 12:08 AM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: laguna_greg]  
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Don't argue with me. Argue with the US Supreme Court:

http://www.kkrlaw.com/changes/ftc.htm

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Originally Posted by Kreisler
FYI - I believe the argument is that since MTNA provides financial benefits to its members in the form of affiliate programs and group insurance programs, it waives its exemption as a non-profit. (Because while MTNA is a non-profit, it brokers services that directly affects the profits of its members.)



Kreisler,

Many non-profits offer such services to their members when cash flow will support it. My own professional association is a 501(c)3, offers such services, and retains its tax-exempt status.

I've sat on the boards of two 501(c)3's. And such a non-profit can 1- engage in business including selling things, 2- make a profit, and 3- offer business and professional services to its members. The only thing it can't do is sell an equity interest in the corporation, nor can it distribute profits to shareholders (because there can't be any). The National Safety Council is one such non-profit. They are one of the leading developers and resellers of safety training and education materials in the country, with very healthy sales every year.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#2191687 - 12/03/13 01:12 AM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Don't argue with me. Argue with the US Supreme Court:

http://www.kkrlaw.com/changes/ftc.htm

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Originally Posted by Kreisler
FYI - I believe the argument is that since MTNA provides financial benefits to its members in the form of affiliate programs and group insurance programs, it waives its exemption as a non-profit. (Because while MTNA is a non-profit, it brokers services that directly affects the profits of its members.)



Kreisler,

Many non-profits offer such services to their members when cash flow will support it. My own professional association is a 501(c)3, offers such services, and retains its tax-exempt status.

I've sat on the boards of two 501(c)3's. And such a non-profit can 1- engage in business including selling things, 2- make a profit, and 3- offer business and professional services to its members. The only thing it can't do is sell an equity interest in the corporation, nor can it distribute profits to shareholders (because there can't be any). The National Safety Council is one such non-profit. They are one of the leading developers and resellers of safety training and education materials in the country, with very healthy sales every year.

But are you intelligent? Or only "seemingly intelligent"? laugh


Piano Teacher
#2191696 - 12/03/13 01:45 AM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Gary D.]  
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AZNpiano  Online Happy
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
But are you intelligent? Or only "seemingly intelligent"? laugh

Ha! ha


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2191782 - 12/03/13 07:50 AM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Don't argue with me. Argue with the US Supreme Court:

http://www.kkrlaw.com/changes/ftc.htm

[quote=laguna_greg][quote=Kreisler]FYI - I believe the argument is that since MTNA provides financial benefits to its members in the form of affiliate programs and group insurance programs, it waives its exemption as a non-profit. (Because while MTNA is a non-profit, it brokers services that directly affects the profits of its members.)



But the argument should be dead in the water. Substantial financial benefit to members cannot be established. This condition must be met, and isn't met. (The link has the first sentence referring to "substantial financial benefit".)

A discount on insurance rates is hardly a substantial financial benefit. There is not a single member whose financial benefits of membership exceed the cost of dues.

Edit: This widespread incompetence reminds me of Sherlock Holmes describing Scotland Yard: "They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity". In other words, the hounds of detective work are spinning their wheels in the wrong place.

Last edited by Ann in Kentucky; 12/03/13 08:24 AM.
#2191904 - 12/03/13 01:19 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: TimR]  
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toyboy Offline
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Originally Posted by TimR

In other words, the MTNA did what every other professional organization in the past 40 years has had to do, make its Code of Ethics comply with US law.

The strategy of hoping not to be noticed worked for 40 years, until one of their members filed a complaint.

I don't think that's a particularly good law in this application, nor do I think there's any huge societal good being served, but it remains the law.


Call me stupid but I'm failing to understand what part of what law the deleted Code is infringing on.

"The teacher shall respect the integrity of other teacher’s studios and shall not actively recruit students from another studio."

What exactly does "actively recruit" mean? Would said recruiter stand watch at "other teacher's" studio with camera, identifying possible recruitees? Would said recruiter enter into "other teacher's" studio in the dead of night, Watergate style, and steal the list and addresses of students? Or even less stealthily, would recruiter attend the piano recitals of "other teacher" and hand out flyers to innocent 7 year olds? Trying to imagine how this sort of recruiting would work in the real world just comes up with these sorts of absurdities. But if anyone has some actual ideas, I'd be interested. No, I'm not a piano teacher but a friend of mine is. smile

If nothing else, even if this is a matter of "complying with the law" against monopolistic practise (really??? I'm failing to find any explanation of this) I hardly see how a higher ethical standard than what the law is stands as an infringement. Ethics are just that, ethics! They aren't a law other than the sort of law you guide your own self by. If we're now saying that codes of ethics are to be scrutinized for legalities, then what's the point of having codes of ethics? Mere 19th century anachronisms?

But completetly on the other hand, in regards to the original Op Ed piece, if the writer's opinion is for unrestrained free trade, I'm unclear why she even uses this as a cause celebre. Her single-minded fury at any and all government intrusion blinds her to the fact that she should actually be on the side of the FTC on this! She should also want this ethical code removed in the name of "free trade".

Am I crazy? What am I missing?


"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
- Gertrude Stein
#2191915 - 12/03/13 01:50 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: toyboy]  
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TimR Offline
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Originally Posted by toyboy
If we're now saying that codes of ethics are to be scrutinized for legalities, then what's the point of having codes of ethics? Mere 19th century anachronisms?



We're not now saying this. This legal history goes back at least 40 years, and all sorts of membership societies have been forced to modify codes of ethics. Remember that the FTC only has jurisdiction if it appears to be restraint of free trade. If it were anything else, like racism, safety, environmental, etc., they wouldn't be involved.

Quote
But completetly on the other hand, in regards to the original Op Ed piece, if the writer's opinion is for unrestrained free trade, I'm unclear why she even uses this as a cause celebre. Her single-minded fury at any and all government intrusion blinds her to the fact that she should actually be on the side of the FTC on this! She should also want this ethical code removed in the name of "free trade".

Am I crazy? What am I missing?


You're not crazy, you're 100% correct.


gotta go practice
#2191943 - 12/03/13 02:45 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: toyboy]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Originally Posted by toyboy
What exactly does "actively recruit" mean? Would said recruiter stand watch at "other teacher's" studio with camera, identifying possible recruitees? Would said recruiter enter into "other teacher's" studio in the dead of night, Watergate style, and steal the list and addresses of students? Or even less stealthily, would recruiter attend the piano recitals of "other teacher" and hand out flyers to innocent 7 year olds? Trying to imagine how this sort of recruiting would work in the real world just comes up with these sorts of absurdities. But if anyone has some actual ideas, I'd be interested. No, I'm not a piano teacher but a friend of mine is. smile

This actually happens and has been the subject of many forum topics in the past. A search of the data base will bring them up. Most common is the teacher who discovers the date of another teacher's student recital, attends as a guest, and then proceeds to badmouth the current teacher and tells parents that she can solve all the student's problems.

A second "recruitment" scenario happens this way: We take our students to a competition. The sponsor of the competition, generally an university music department, solicits the top performers. This actually happens, but word does spread quickly.

As for what you're missing, it's the context of the op-ed. It has nothing to do with free trade, MTNA, non-profits, etc. It's about the appearance of abusive use of power by the current Administration.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#2191956 - 12/03/13 02:59 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Michael_99]  
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OK it's decided then. I'm not crazy. I am naive.


"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
- Gertrude Stein
#2191975 - 12/03/13 03:25 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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guess where in CA and WA
So Here's what I Did this Morning:

I called the DC and local offices of the senators in my state, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. I spoke with staff members from both offices. When I described the situation, including the ethics code in question, they all fell off their chairs laughing. They were well aware of the anti-trust laws and, like me, did not see how this could possibly apply to the MTNA. They wanted more information, which I am going to send them.

I urge you to do the same. Here's what I said:

"My name is _________. I'm a resident of your state, and I'm calling to discuss an investigation that the FTC is conducting of a professional association I belong to. It's the Musical Teachers' National Association. Yes that's right, piano teachers. I'm a local area piano teacher and senator________ represents me. I do not think that the MTNA could possibly be a barrier or restraint to trade in the piano teaching industry. I think the FTC is working outside of its mandate, and just doesn't have enough to do going after big companies like Google and Microsoft. And I'd like the senator to look into the matter. The MTNA issued a press release yesterday saying that they will comply with the FTC's demands because it simply does not have enough budget to litigate. I'm calling everyone I can think of to see if anyone will take an interest in this, and help us. Who can I send information to in your office?"

As I said in my previous posts, I'm going to call all my legislative rep's at the federal level. I'm also going to send a letter to president Obama's office. And I'm going to send out a press release to every media site I can think of. Then I'm going to tell everyone I know. You all should too.

Tim might be right. The FTC may be reading the law in such a way that it sees this action as its legitimate mandate. Well, I don't agree with that at all. This is not a right or proper use of our national resources, to harass and hamper small non-profits who have broken no laws, and well beyond their means to defend themselves. If it turns out that the FTC is acting within the purview of the law, then perhaps that law should be changed so groups like the MTNA can't be bothered by the likes of the FTC. Sometimes, all it takes is a little noise to accomplish this.

I'm going to be putting a letter and an info packet together to send to, well, anybody who'll listen. Does anybody want to help me?


Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-dempster/34/325/6b9/ (my day job)
#2191983 - 12/03/13 03:39 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Don't argue with me. Argue with the US Supreme Court:

http://www.kkrlaw.com/changes/ftc.htm

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Originally Posted by Kreisler
FYI - I believe the argument is that since MTNA provides financial benefits to its members in the form of affiliate programs and group insurance programs, it waives its exemption as a non-profit. (Because while MTNA is a non-profit, it brokers services that directly affects the profits of its members.)



Kreisler,

Many non-profits offer such services to their members when cash flow will support it. My own professional association is a 501(c)3, offers such services, and retains its tax-exempt status.

I've sat on the boards of two 501(c)3's. And such a non-profit can 1- engage in business including selling things, 2- make a profit, and 3- offer business and professional services to its members. The only thing it can't do is sell an equity interest in the corporation, nor can it distribute profits to shareholders (because there can't be any). The National Safety Council is one such non-profit. They are one of the leading developers and resellers of safety training and education materials in the country, with very healthy sales every year.


Kreisler,

I had no intention of arguing with you. Sorry if I said the wrong thing.

However, the professional association in the decision, the Dental Association, has absolutely no resemblance to the MTNA in form or function, nor do its members derive a comparable financial benefit from membership.

Besides, I don't think the MTNA has any "for-profit service corporations" like other larger, better funded groups do. Their group health plan is provided by an outside vendor, not themselves. Same thing with any financial or brokerage services- they are provided by an outside vendor, a separate business entity, not a subsidiary of the MTNA.


Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-dempster/34/325/6b9/ (my day job)
#2191990 - 12/03/13 03:52 PM Re: Music teachers, beware - feds are on to you [Re: laguna_greg]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Greg, guess I'll be calling Cantwell, Murray, & Heck's offices tomorrow. Thanks for the suggested script. I had planned to write, and may still do so, because both emails and phone calls can be written off fairly easily, but letters are physical and something has to be done with them! What I've been doing is trying to get other teachers in the loop, my student's parents aware, and the general public here in Olympia.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
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