The NAB calls royalties for airplay a performance tax. Howard Berman's (D-CA) Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property is taking up the topic today under the title "Ensuring Artists Fair Compensation: Updating the Performance Right and Platform for Parity for the 21st Century." The subcommittee is part of the House Judiciary Committee. Howard Coble (R-NC) is the Ranking Member. The session kicks off at 10AM, and will feature two witness panels. The first will be a solo outing for Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH). The second features recording artists Judy Collins and Sam Moore, US Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters, and ICBC Broadcating's Charles A. Warfield Jr. (ICBC is better known as Inner City Broadcasting Corporation).
SmartMedia observation: We suspect Warfield will be the designated hitter for all broadcasters, and given the title of the session and the star appeal of some of the witnesses, we further suspect he will have his work cut out for him. The fact of the matter, of course, is that recording artists ultimately have little to gain if the current free play/free promotion arrangement is scuttled. We'll let you know how it goes.