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"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."
—-Dennis Wharton, NAB EVP
PERFORMING RIGHTS ACT PASSES FIRST TEST
House Judiciary Committee Votes 21-9 to Send Bill on to Senate Committee

First round goes to the record labels and their artists.

In a 21-9 vote, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Performance Rights Act that would require broadcast radio stations to pay a fee to performers whose songs are aired.

Next stop for the legislation is the Senate Judiciary Committee, then to the House and Senate. If it's approved, it'll then head to Obama's desk for ratification. 

After a contentious three-hour hearing, three amendments to the bill were offered, only one of which—reducing the fees to small broadcasters—was approved.

In a surprise turn for broadcasters, Democratic California rep Maxine Waters reversed her support for the bill, acknowledging she had been heavily lobbied by broadcasters and expressing concern about the financial impact on minority stations in particular.

If enacted, 50% of the new fee would go directly into the coffers of the major record label companies for the RIAA-supported bill.

The National Association of Broadcasters insisted a bipartisan group of 192 House lawmakers are already on record in opposition to the legislation, if it gets past the next hurdle.

Said NAB EVP Dennis Wharton: "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.”

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