Broadcasters Air Complaints About Royalty Deal!


Artists, broadcasters, device makers and other stakeholders came to Capitol Hill for a hearing on the future of audio last Wednesday with a variety of different requests.

House lawmakers got an earful  about the policy implications of radio’s migration from its transistor days to an era in which Internet and satellite services are accessed from virtually anywhere.

Broadcasters argued for FM chips to be included in mobile devices and against paying performance royalties. The music industry advocated for an industry-wide solution to paying musicians,
songwriters and publishers for their work. Online radio service Pandora, meanwhile, says it wants a level playing field.

“Congress has an important role to play in ensuring that singers, songwriters and other musicians are compensated fairly, both through combating online piracy and ensuring an equitable licensing and royalty system,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of a House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee, at the panel’s hearing.

Waxman, in the last Congress, co-sponsored the Performance Rights Act, which would require over-the-air broadcasters to compensate for the right to publicly perform their music. “Whatever the rationale may have been in the past, there is no reason in today’s environment that over-the-air broadcasters should be allowed to play music without compensating the artists that perform it,” he said.

Radio executives say the broadcasters shouldn’t have to pay royalties because the over-the-air radio audience remains critical to artists’ success. They argue that Internet-based services like Pandora aren’t actually radio, so it makes sense that copyright laws apply differently. But, to recording artists and their representatives, the Clear Channel-Big Machine deal undercuts that argument and is a welcome development.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77135.html#ixzz1xbAFxkhL

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