Fair Play Fair Pay Act proposes new performance royalty rules for radio

copyright symbolThe congressional copyright melee has taken a new turn today as a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced new legislation aimed at revising and equalizing the royalties paid by terrestrial and online radio services. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015 includes a move to have terrestrial radio stations pay royalties to performers in addition to the songwriters and publishers. It would also establish a public performance right for recordings made prior to 1972, when federal copyright law took effect. It also proposes minimum fees to be paid by different types of services and would create a single rate-setting standard for all non-interactive services.

“The Fair Play Fair Pay Act fixes this broken and unjust system by making sure all radio services play by the same rules, and all artists are fairly compensated,” said Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

SoundExchange has already come out in favor of the proposed act. “The Fair Play Fair Pay Act introduced today will bring much needed reform to the music industry and addresses many of the issues that plague the recorded music industry,” President and CEO Michael Huppe said. The National Association of Broadcasters, on the other hand, was dismissive: “It is disappointing that this bill retreads years-old policy positions rather than advancing the copyright dialogue through policies that help grow the entire music ecosystem.”

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act stands as a counterpoint to the Local Radio Freedom Act, which would block placing any new fees or royalty payments on local radio stations for their broadcasts. With both acts now on the congressional floor, plus the Songwriter Equity Act pushing for more money to go to composers and publishers, copyright issues are the hottest topic for the music industry right now. Bear in mind that the Copyright Royalty Board is also currently hearing arguments that will inform its decisions for the 2016-2020 period. It’s possible that the supporters and opponents of each piece of legislation is trying to squeak in every legal edge that they can before those rates are set.

Anna Washenko

One Comment

  1. The bill HR 1733 is not level at all ! I agree with part of it and there is part I don’t agree with.

    Small internet radio broadcasters for years and years have been doing the right thing. We pay our licensing fee’s !! We have been paying our licensing fee’s ! FM radio and all the other terrestrial industries have been finding every loophole possible to NOT pay their fee’s.

    So along comes Rep. Nadler and HR 1733 with this bill that finally corners the terrestrial stations, GOOD ! I’m glad that FINALLY they have no way out. BUT !

    It also punishes the small internet radio broadcaster by RAISING our fee’s for doing the right thing for many years !! Do you call this fair ?? As a small internet radio broadcaster, I don’t find it fair at all ! In fact, it’s downright offensive !

    Because now terrestrial radio HAS to FINALLY pay their bills like they should have been doing for years , like small internet radio broadcasters HAD already been doing, Now they want all of the pie and want ONLY the RICH to be able to utilize the internet to broadcast. Raising the rates so high, that small broadcasters cannot afford to do what they have been doing for years.

    It’s wrong. It’s unfair. It’s a shyster way of doing things , but then again , we have come to expect only the worst from terrestrial radio haven’t we ?

    I am disgusted with the part of this bill that punishes the small internet radio broadcaster for doing the right thing for many years.

    Why isn’t terrestrial radio being sued for past royalties that they SHOULD have been paying for the last 15 years ? Why aren’t they being fined for avoiding paying their bills with any possible loophole they could find ! Why are we being punished for actions of shysters ?

    People in congress need to look at the whole story and hear from small broadcasters as well, not just the big players with the big mouths and loud whining !

    John Michaels
    Small Internet Broadcaster
    Proud to have been paying
    my royalties for the last
    8 years without fail !

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