In a recent rare and purposeful show of bi-partisan support, the Fair Play Fair pay act was re-introduced, with the hopes of modernizing U.S. law as it relates to the regulations governing both digital and terrestrial radio broadcasts.
Guest post by Chris Castle of Music Technology Policy
Yesterday Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) (Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet) and Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), (Chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology), along with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Judiciary Committee Member Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), and Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) re-introduced the Fair Play Fair Pay Act.
This is a purposeful mix of bi-partisan support that’s so refreshing in the current climate. What brought these Members together was a desire to modernize the U.S. rules governing music licensing for both digital and terrestrial radio broadcasts. Fair Play Fair Pay brings justice to the artists and musicians whose performances are exploited every second of every day on terrestrial radio with no compensation.
Not only would FPFP disrupt the antiquated legacy rules, it would plug the unintended consequences that has spawned seemingly endless litigation and commercial disruption. The new bill would establish a performance right and royalty for broadcast radio (with suitable protection for noncommercial stations), give guidance to courts that Congress recognizes that pre-72 recordings should attract a royalty like any other recording, and protect artists and producers for their share of statutory language while making a clear statement that nothing in the bill is intended to reduce payments to songwriters.
Here is a link to the prior version of the bill from the last session of Congress (HR 1733), and here is the summary of the new bill from Congressman Nadler:
The Fair Play Fair Pay Act would:
Create a terrestrial performance right so that AM/FM radio competes on equal footing with its Internet and satellite competitors who already pay performance royalties. This would resolve the decades old struggle for performance rights and ensure that—for the first time—music creators would have the right to fair pay when their performances are broadcast on AM/FM radio.
Bring true platform parity to radio so that all forms of radio, regardless of the technology they use, pay fair market value for music performances. This levels the playing field and ends the unfair and illogical distortions caused by the different royalty standards that exist today.
Ensure terrestrial royalties are affordable capping royalties for stations with less than $1 million in annual revenue at $500 per year (and at $100 a year for non-commercial stations), while protecting religious and incidental uses of music from having to pay any royalties at all.
Make a clear statement that pre-1972 recordings have value and those who are profiting from them must pay appropriate royalties for their use, while we closely monitor the litigation developments on this issue.
Protect songwriters and publishers by clearly stating that nothing in this bill can be used to lower songwriting royalties.
Codify industry practices streamlining the allocation of royalty payments to music producers.
Ensure that artists receive their fair share from direct licensing of all performances eligible for the statutory license.