Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Block Performance Fee
February 12, 2009 at 12:15 PM (PT)
More than 100 lawmakers have signed-on to a bipartisan House resolution opposing the introduction of "any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge" on local radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act, unveiled today at a Capitol Hill event hosted by THE FREE RADIO ALLIANCE, was introduced by Reps. GENE GREEN (D-TX) and MIKE CONAWAY (R-TX). The resolution, as introduced in last year's Congress, garnered 53 original co-sponsors. Initial support for this year's resolution has more than doubled, reaching 110.
An identical resolution is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon.
"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings," reads the H. Con. Res 49.
The House resolution counters legislation supported by the RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, which would require local radio stations to pay a new fee for music aired free to listeners.
Commenting on the resolution's introduction, NAB EVP DENNIS WHARTON said, "NAB applauds Reps. GREEN, CONAWAY and their House colleagues for their commitment to ensuring that America's 235 million weekly radio listeners have continued access to free, local radio. The undeniable fact is that RIAA's plea for a record label bailout will put thousands of radio jobs at risk and threaten the economic viability of a recording artist's greatest promotional asset."
The musicFIRST Coalition Quickly Responds
THE MUSICFIRST COALITION quickly issued the following statement on what they call "THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS’ Save Our Loophole resolution. Said Executive Dir. JENNIFER BENDALL, "The NAB resolution should be recognized for what it is -- a last ditch effort to save corporate radio’s loophole in copyright law.
"It says AM and FM music radio stations should continue to get special treatment, that AM and FM music radio stations do not have to play by the rules, and that AM and FM music radio stations should enjoy a competitive advantage over other music platforms.
"AM and FM music radio stations earn $16 billion a year in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners’ ears to the radio dial. It’s not fair, it’s not right and it will be changed.
"Radio is the only platform that does not pay a fair performance royalty to America’s artists and musicians. Satellite radio, internet radio and cable television music stations pay a fair performance royalty to artists and musicians. When radio streams its signal online it pays a fair performance royalty. And songwriters receive a royalty for music played on the radio.
"Music moves people. It’s why you turn on the radio, not the other way around. Instituting a fair performance right encourages creativity and content that will continue to make American radio profitable.
"It is time to end radio’s loophole and create a fair performance right on radio for America’s artists and musicians."