Performance Fee Fight Heats Up
John Dingell Sides With NAB On Two Issues
March 3, 2010 at 5:52 AM (PT)
Broadcasters descended on WASHINGTON, D.C. YESTERDAY (NET NEWS 3/2), with the Performance Fee and Spectrum Reallocation the two hot topics. At a press conference to promote the radio performance royalty bill, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE Chairman JOHN CONYERS (D-MICH.) equated the broadcasters' power to play music without compensating the performers to involuntary servitude. The conference, set up by THE MUSICFIRST COALITION, also featured singer DIONNE WARWICK.
In a speech delivered last night at the NAB State Leadership Dinner, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus JOHN DINGELL (D-MI) took the NAB's side, announcing his opposition to a performance tax on radio and expressing concern over proposals to reallocate broadcast TV spectrum for wireless broadband use.
Recording artists and record labels have profited handsomely for years from the free publicity they get from broadcasters, a mutually beneficial relationship that a performance tax will destroy.
"I'd like to express my opposition to legislation imposing a performance tax on broadcasters," said DINGELL. "I am concerned that such a tax would be of less benefit to recording artists than to record labels, many of which are based abroad. Further, recording artists and record labels have profited handsomely for years from the free publicity they get from broadcasters, a mutually beneficial relationship that a performance tax will destroy. Lastly, and perhaps most practically, it seems ridiculous to me to impose a new punitive fee on broadcasters during this time of recession, especially as broadcasters have seen their revenues decrease by up to 40% over the past several years."
Regarding spectrum reallocation, he said "I am concerned about plans circulating at the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION to mandate the reallocation of broadcasters' spectrum for mobile broadband use. Broadcasters already surrendered a third of their spectrum during the digital television transition, and I remain unconvinced by arguments that broadcasters are using their remaining spectrum inefficiently. It is my hope that the Congress and Commission can find a way to increase the spectrum available for the purposes of mobile broadband without threatening the availability of free, over-the-air broadcasting to the public."
[Radio is very opposed to this Performance Fee, and the Music Industry wants it. What do you think? Comment below.]