Berman tosses a bone to small and Religious broadcasters


As radio broadcasters gathered in Charlotte were exhorted to fiercely oppose efforts to introduce a new performance tax on radio to benefit record companies, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) sought to blunt opposition to his coming bill by offering a discount to small stations and Religious stations.
"I recognize that granting artists and sound recording copyright owners the right to be compensated for music played on the radio presents a change. But current law presents an inequity that is neither fair nor right.  Artists deserve compensation for the use of their music and this gap in the law must be addressed," Berman insisted.

"I am confident that we can do this in a way that is sensitive to the legitimate concerns and economic realities of broadcasters. My intention is to ensure that small and religious stations – and, indeed, all stations – will not be unduly burdened and that any new payment requirement will not be excessive.  In fact, under the legislation that we are crafting, a large majority of all radio stations will receive special accommodations.  This is the right thing to do," the Congressman said. Berman plans to introduce his bill next month.

RBR/TVBR observation: Who wants a discount when you shouldn’t have to pay anything in the first place? We’ve heard a lot of concern about the performance tax this week in Charlotte. NAB is working to rally heavy broadcaster opposition to the Berman bill. As David Rehr noted in his speech to the convention, the RIAA wants everyone to believe that making radio stations pay up would benefit artists, when in fact the artists would receive very little, with most of the windfall going to line the pockets of record company executives.