Local Radio Freedom Act Continues To Gain Support


On March 30, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation that would amend federal copyright law to extend a sound recording copyright owner’s rights to include the exclusive right to perform or authorize the performance of the recording publicly by means of any audio transmission.

In plain English, Nadler’s bill — the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2017”, or H.R. 1836 — would force AM and FM stations that play any copyrighted sound recordings (a.k.a. songs) to pay royalties for any airplay of such recordings.

As of today, Nadler has 24 co-sponsors for his bill. Similar legislation introduced by Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) — the “PROMOTE Act,” or H.R. 1914 — has yet to attract anyone other than Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.).

The future of Nadler’s bill looks bleak, while H.R. 1914 is pretty much dead.

Nevertheless, six more Members of Congress have made it clear that they are dead-set against any further royalty payments for broadcast radio companies.

Five Members of the House of Representatives and one Senator have joined as co-sponsors of a bipartisan resolution that opposes “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations.

With this new support, “The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA)” now has 211 cosponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate.

Adding their support for the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House are Reps. Greg Gianforte (Mont.), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Donald McEachin (Va.), Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Ralph Norman (S.C.).

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is the new co-sponsor in the Senate.

Reps. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) are the principal cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 13) in the House of Representatives.

>Sens. John Barrasso(R-WY) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 6).

The twin resolutions, which are not proposed legislation but rather pledges to withhold support of such Acts introduced by their colleagues, states that “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air.”


FM’s Biggest Competitor Is RIAA’s Biggest Revenue Maker

How important are streaming audio services to the music industry? If not for them, revenue for the record labels would be far less than what’s being reported today. It paints a picture that explains why efforts on Capitol Hill, thus far unsuccessful, to introduce new fees on broadcast radio for the airplay of recorded music were seen this year. Simply put, the recording industry’s run out of ways to make money from the sale of singles and albums.