Thursday, April 30, 2015

AM/FM Royalty Exemption Called Embarrassing

Maria Pallante
The top official at the U.S. Copyright Office told a U.S. House committee on Wednesday that AM/FM radio stations not paying sound recording royalties is "indefensible" and "embarrassing."

U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante addresses the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.  Testifying in the final hearing of the House Judiciary Committee's two-year review of copyright law, Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante forcefully urged lawmakers to create a full performance right for sound recordings, as the office has advocated before.

Currently, broadcasters pay a blanket license to music rights groups, but argue that airplay is a fair exchange, and valuable compensation, for individual performances.

“When their songs are played on radio, they’re subsidizing the profits of broadcasters,” she told the panel.

The House Judiciary Committee was a sympathetic venue.  Its members have long pushed for a performance royalty on radio, even passing a bill to create one in 2009, only to see the rest of the House reject the idea.  Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is trying again, introducing legislation this month that would force stations to pay for airplay as well as for streaming services for recordings made prior to 1972.

Nadler told his fellow lawmakers that his bill would “create a technology neutral system” that ensures artists are “fairly compensated regardless of where their music is played.”   Nadler’s bill has so far added just three co-sponsors, although Pallante said it provides an “excellent legislative framework.”

Pallante also says changing the law to make it harder for online pirates to distribute content is "warranted and overdue."

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