Friday, May 15, 2009

Public Performance Right Update

You may have already heard, but there's been some developments regarding the Public Performance Right for terrestrial radio. On May 11-12, a huge array of supporters of the Performance Right focused their attention on Congress. The goal: build up enough support in the House to pass HR 848, that would require broadcasters to compensate performing artists and sound copyright owners (usually the labels) for their work when played (or "performed") over-the-air.

The efforts appear to have had their intended effect: on May 13, the Performance Rights Act passed in the House Judiciary Committee. Last minute-tweaks to the legislation — presented by committee chair John Conyers (D-MI) and largely as a response to pressure from minority broadcasters — included delaying the bill's effective date, reducing the royalty payments due, and insuring that the needs of small, minority, religious and non-music broadcasters are taken into account.

While this is clearly good news for supporters of the Performance Right, there's a way to go before the royalty becomes a reality. The bill still needs to be voted on in the full House, and companion legislation must be passed in the Senate before it goes to President Obama for signature or veto (just like on "Schoolhouse Rock," remember?)

FMC supports a Public Performance Right for a number of reasons, mainly because it would directly compensate performers 45 percent of the royalties owed for the use of their music on over-the-air broadcasts. It's also important to note that the U.S. is one of the only industrialized nations without this right, which means American artists can't collect money owed to them for overseas spins of their music. If you need a refresher check out our Performance Right fact sheet.

And here's all the tagged posts on the issue from this very blog.

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