Performance Royalties Back On The Table
WASHINGTON -- January 23, 2009: In a letter sent earlier this week to fellow members of the House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) tell their House colleagues, "In the coming days, you will likely be presented with a resolution supported by radio broadcasters, which advocates protections for the radio industry but in effect denies performers payment for their work. While the resolution will be framed in terms of preventing a 'tax,' 'fee,' or 'burden' on local radio stations, in reality, the only payment broadcasters would be required to make would be for the use of someone else's property."
The letter urges lawmakers not to co-sponsor the resolution, which, it says, is designed to "prevent a fair compromise on the issue of compensating another person for the use of their property."
The letter asks House members to consider supporting the Performance Rights Act, which, it says, will be reintroduced in this Congress. The PRA, says the letter, "presents a fair and balanced approach that does not affect establishments and venues, provides major accommodations for small broadcast stations (75% of all stations) to protect against hardship, and provides outright exemptions for religious and talk radio. It will not tax or burden broadcasters, but rather will establish balance between those who create music and those who play it for the health and future of both industries."
The letter also claims the bill "appropriately accounts for any promotional benefits in the rate that will be set" and calls radio's exemption from performance royalties "an accidental and unjustified subsidy, which amounts to government-sanctioned unfair competition."
NAB EVP Dennis Wharton said in a statement on the letter, "It is implausible to suggest that a government-imposed bailout of foreign record
labels estimated to cost up to $7 billion would not cause serious economic harm to U.S. radio stations. The media business faces the worst advertising
economy in decades, and thousands of loyal, hard-working people have lost their jobs in radio the last few months. If Congress wants to ensure more job
losses and put at risk the countless charitable and public-service efforts of local radio stations, passing the performance tax would be the best
Return to Davey D's Hip Hop Corner