The focus of the 11/28/12 Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee hearing on music licensing was parity between digital platforms, but Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) did not let the occasion pass without making a reference to the royalty exemption held by AM and FM radio.
Watt said that the focus of the day, which was strictly digital, only “nibbles around the edges” of the entire issue, and that the absence of a broadcast performance right was the biggest issue within the broader royalty debate.
He said the existence of the exemption was historical and suggested that it was time for the exemption to be eliminated.
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), who was a key sponsor of the Performance Rights Act, added his voice to that of Watt, saying IRFA could be a catalyst for revisiting the broadcast exemption.
RBR-TVBR observation: Here we go again! The radio royalty exemption is a zombie issue on Capitol Hill – it can be put down, but it always comes back. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), currently the chair of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee and pending chair of the full committee, said he saw the 11/28 hearing as the first of a series. So buckle up that seat belt – the zombie is coming back in 2013!