On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will be holding a “mark-up session” (see this notice of the session) where they will be considering the American Music Fairness Act which proposes to impose a sound recording performance royalty on over-the-air broadcasting. This would be a royalty paid to SoundExchange to benefit the recording artist and copyright holder (usually the record company) and would be in addition to the royalties already paid to composers and publishing companies through royalties paid to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and GMR. A mark-up session considers amendments to the bill and could lead to the committee’s approval of the bill. If approved by the Committee, the bill would still need to be approved by the full House of Representatives and the Senate (and signed by the President) before it became law. With the current session of Congress coming to a close at the end of the month, the proposed legislation would need to start over in the Congress. Thus, unless the bill is tacked on to some must-pass legislation in this “lame duck” session of Congress, any action this week by the committee will likely simply be a marker for action in the new year.
The NAB has already issued a statement about the session, pointing out that a majority of the House members have signed on to the Local Radio Freedom Act stating that they will not vote for this legislation. The statement also reiterates the NAB’s interest in working on a “mutually beneficial solution” to the issue of the broadcast performance royalty (an interest in a possible solution we wrote about here). Nevertheless, with this issue back on the table, even if only in a symbolic way, we thought that we should re-post our summary of the American Music Fairness Act and the issues that it raises that we wrote last year, when the legislation was first introduced.
Continue Reading House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to Consider American Music Fairness Act Proposing Sound Recording Performance Royalty on Over-the-Air Broadcasting