Urban Radio Protests Performance Fee Legislation
May 13, 2009 at 7:04 AM (PT)
Over the objections of some African-American radio stations in his home state of MICHIGAN, Rep. JOHN CONYERS will try to move a bill TODAY through his House Judiciary Committee requiring over-the-air radio stations to pay royalties to performing artists, reports THE DETROIT NEWS.
"RADIO ONE/DETROIT plans a "Save Black Radio" rally at the Democratic Judiciary chairman's DETROIT office at noon," writes THE NEWS. "In an announcement about the rally, RADIO ONE/DETROIT urged listeners to join talk show host MILDRED GADDIS of WCHB-A, TUNE UP of WDMK (105.9 KISS FM) and REGGIE REG of WHTD (HOT 102.7) to protest the "tax" bill.
"The music that the public now listens to for free would cost radio stations millions of dollars to play, essentially crippling black radio stations financially," the announcement said.
"But CONYERS and a bipartisan group of allies counter that performer royalties are paid by webcasters, satellite radio providers and cable companies. The bill, they argue, simply corrects an inequity in copyright law.
"All those in the creative chain of musical production -- the artists, musicians and others who enrich us culturally -- deserve to be justly compensated for their work," CONYERS said in introducing the bill in FEBRUARY. "We have introduced the Performance Rights Act to ensure fairness so that any service that plays music pays those who create and own the recordings -- just as satellite, cable and Internet radio stations currently do."
"The bill will go through markup TODAY, where it can be amended before Judiciary Committee members decide whether to pass it for consideration by the full House.
"Supporters note that the legislation creates a special fee program for smaller over-the-air radio stations:
* Stations with profits of less than $1.25 million in gross revenue annually would pay $5,000 yearly.
* Nonprofit radio stations would pay $1,000. Talk radio using only snippets, as well as religious stations, would pay no new fees.