Posted by madcityradio.com on May 13, 2009 at 16:01:43:
In Reply to: Bring on the news and talk stations! posted by firemarshallbill on May 13, 2009 at 15:57:22:
Performance Rights Act Passes First Hurdle
May 13, 2009
At a meeting this morning, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill by a vote of 21 to 9 that would levy a royalty on radio stations for airing music. An amendment was added to the bill that would push back those collections by three years for stations making less than $5 million a year. The rest of broadcasters would get a one year moratorium. The committee reportedly rejected the idea of a six-month delay as well as cutting record labels out of royalty distribution. Voting against the bill were House Judiciary Committee Members Maxine Waters (CA), Lamar Smith (TX), Howard Coble (NC), Dan Lungren (CA), Louie Gohmert (TX), Jim Jordan (OH), Ted Poe (TX), Jason Chaffetz (UT) and Gregg Harper (MS).
The vote ruffled the feathers of some civil rights groups and minority broadcasters because they believed that another hearing would be held to gather more research and information about the bill's impact on minority broadcasters. In fact, the vote sparked a noon "Save Black Radio" protest by African-American radio stations at the Detroit offices of House Judiciary Committee Chairman and Detroit Democrat John Conyers, who has made the Performance Rights Act one of his top priorities.
"The time is finally ripe for establishing some form of equity for recording artists, allowing them to be paid fair compensation for their creativity," Conyers said in his opening statement, according to the Detroit News. "On the other hand, I am concerned about the economic impact this bill may have on broadcasters, particularly smaller broadcasters." Conyers also asked for a Government Accountability Office study of the bill's potential impact on radio broadcasters as well as performing artists and copyright holders.
Commenting on today's Committee action, NAB EVP Dennis Wharton issued a statement saying, "We were pleasantly surprised by the considerable bipartisan opposition to a performance tax, even in a committee where support for the record labels is strongest. NAB applauds these nine members for standing with America's hometown radio stations, their 235 million weekly listeners, and the yet-to-break artists who will lose their number one promotional platform if this bill is enacted. Nearly half the House of Representatives already opposes RIAA efforts to feather the nest of foreign record labels. Record label abuse of artists from Count Basie to Prince is well-documented, as evidenced by scores of lawsuits filed by musicians cheated out of royalties. Moving forward, the fundamental question is this: If the debate is about 'fairness to artists,' why should the record labels get one penny from a performance tax on radio stations?"
Conversely, musicFIRST Coalition Executive Director Jennifer Bendall stated, "We applaud Chairman Conyers and Committee members for their work on the Performance Rights Act and for supporting artists, musicians and rights holders in their fight for fair compensation when their music is used by AM and FM radio stations. Our continued momentum in Congress is proof that it's well past time to recognize the importance of fairly compensating the artists and musicians whose talent and hard work allows radio to generate billions of dollars in ad revenue each year. The Performance Rights Act will bring fairness to artists, musicians and rights holders and one that's fair to radio and its counterparts. It also includes accommodations for small and minority-owned broadcasters. musicFIRST looks forward to the next chapter and to Congress to ensure that U.S. artists and musicians receive the performance right they deserve."
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