Lawmakers Propose Overhaul of Music Payments to Artists and Labels

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A group of congressional lawmakers introduced legislation on Monday to overhaul the way that licensing payment rates are set for digital streaming and satellite play, as well as to pay performers when their songs are broadcast over the airwaves.

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would revive long-desired efforts to establish the right for performers and labels to collect royalty payments when their songs are played on broadcast radio stations. Artists have sought such payments via legislation for almost four decades, yet have been met with stiff resistance from broadcasters, who have again been lining up opponents on Capitol Hill in recent months.

The legislation also would require radio platforms to start compensating artists when they play recordings made before 1972. Copyright protection wasn’t extended to sound recordings until that year.

The bill also would revise how the Copyright Royalty Board calculates rates for satellite radio, and sets guidelines for setting standards for payments to artists and labels across different platforms. This has been a big source of conflict between artists and services like Pandora.

Ted Kalo, executive director of the MusicFirst Coalition, which has been pushing for the legislation, said that the problem now is that music licensing “makes no sense,” with different rates for Internet radio, satellite, and, in the case of terrestrial radio, “no rate at all.”

“The solution: All radio services should pay under the same ‘fair market value’ royalty standard for all of the music they play,” he said in a statement. “Like everyone else who works, creates or innovates, music creators deserve fair pay for their work.”

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  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.

    I would like to know who is representing us small broadcasters in washington ????

    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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