Reps. Blackburn, Eshoo Propose Radio Performance Royalty Bill Based On Blocking Co-Owned TV Station's Retransmission Fees
May 7, 2014 at 4:45 PM (PT)
Reps. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN) and ANNA ESHOO (D-CA) are trying a new angle to get radio broadcasters to pay royalties to artists and labels, proposing a bill. H.R. 4588, the Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act, that would block television stations from receiving retransmission consent payments if their parent companies also own radio stations that do not pay performance royalties.
BLACKBURN said, “This is a basic issue of modernizing the law to get rid of a dated loophole that only applies to AM/FM radio. Internet radio pays music creators fair market value for their performances, Satellite radio pays music creators for performances, Cable and Satellite TV/radio stations pay music creators for their performances. Everyone but AM/FM radio pays.
“Broadcasters have repeatedly told us that retransmission consent payments are fair because cable and satellite stations make millions by retransmitting local broadcast content.However, when it comes to music, the same broadcasters, many who own both TV and radio stations, sing a completely different tune. This is simply an issue of fairness and I look forward to working with Congresswoman ESHOO on fixing this glaring inconsistency.
“When KENNY ROGERS' 'The Gambler' is played on Internet radio or satellite radio, KENNY gets paid, but when it is played on AM/FM radio, he doesn’t get anything. NAB’s radio members won’t pay KENNY ROGERS for his recording of 'The Gambler,' but they demand to be paid when the TV movie of 'The Gambler' is retransmitted. Fair pay for all creators shouldn’t be a gamble."
ESHOO said, “Today, broadcasters profit from airing music on AM/FM radio without compensating the creator of that music. This is patently unfair. The Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act ensures that broadcasters who receive billions of dollars each year in retransmission consent fees for their content must also pay artists when their music is played on AM/FM stations, just as they are on Internet and satellite radio.”
NAB EVP/Communications DENNIS WHARTON responded, "NAB is concerned that this legislation would devalue local broadcasting. Every day across AMERICA, local radio and TV provides a positive, competitive balance to national pay radio and TV giants. Local stations offer news, entertainment, and emergency warnings that make the difference between life and death. NAB will respectfully oppose this legislation."