Here Comes The Performance Rights Debate Again
February 10, 2011 at 4:22 AM (PT)
There was some thought that HR 848, the Performance Rights Act, had some momentum at the end of DECEMBER (NET NEWS 12/15/2010), but nothing happened at the time. Now, POLITICO reports, "the Performance Rights Act, which would have created a royalty for music played on AM and FM radio, may be reintroduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee this year. It will most likely get replayed as a rider to another bill or as a legislative bargaining chip as the music industry attempts to achieve this long-sought goal, according to industry executives."
In OCTOBER of last year (NET NEWS 10/25/2010), THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS RADIO BOARD OF DIRECTORS voted in favor of presenting musicFIRST representatives a legislative "Term Sheet" designed to resolve the longstanding performance fee issue.
Commenting on a revived interest in the bill, RIAA CEO MITCH BAINWOL told POLITICO, "I don’t know what the mechanism will be. Maybe something else will get held up because of their recalcitrance on this issue."
MICHIGAN Rep. JOHN CONYERS, who is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said, "It’s going to be tougher this year than in the 111th [Congress], but we’re very active on the performance royalty. But I can’t predict what will happen."
NAB CEO GORDON SMITH added, "Getting that resolution is the challenging part."
Broadcasters were counting on some concessions last year to help make a bill they could live with. "Under the last offer, artists and record labels would have received a percentage of net revenues for broadcasts of their music, but that would be tied to the market penetration of FM-enabled cellphones," noted POLITICO. That offer included a lower rate for Internet radio than the music industry currently receives under rules set by the COPYRIGHT ROYALTY BOARD.