“We have made significant progress toward creating a fair performance right on radio. But we still have a long way to go."
—-Doyle Bartlett, MusicFirst Coalition

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE APPROVES RADIO ROYALTY BILL

Congress Girds for Major Vote as NAB Rallies Troops, Record Industry Gears for Fight
The battle for radio performance royalties is ready to be fought, which directly pits major radio broadcasters against the recording industry.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property approved a bill requiring radio stations to pay royalties to performers and record labels. The vote came while members of the House from both parties scrambled to attract supporters to their varied positions.

Several Republicans have already voiced their support of the royalty bill, which is sponsored by a Democrat, Committee Chairman Howard Berman.

The National Association of Broadcasters, who are fighting the bill, have vowed to wage an all-out war when the vote comes to the full House floor.

NAB EVP Dennis Wharton dismissed the vote, “given the House IP Subcommittee's history of support for the RIAA-backed tax on local radio stations. Despite today's action, there remains broad bipartisan resistance to the RIAA tax from members of Congress who question whether a punitive fee on America's hometown radio stations should be used to bail out the failing business model of foreign-owned record labels."

Whoa, big guy… Just asking.

MusicFirst Coalition Exec. Dir. Doyle Bartlett was predictably pleased: “We have made significant progress toward creating a fair performance right on radio. But we still have a long way to go."

The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the bill next. Vermont Democrat Patrick Ieahy gave the bill his full endorsement, while stating he hopes to “turn the Committee’s attention to this issue before the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, several Representatives voiced their support for a pair of bills under the Local Radio Freedom Act name being introduced in both the House and the Senate, which prohibits Congress from imposing “any new performance fee, tax, royalty or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings,” effectively circumventing the proposal.

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