Legislators Seek Performance Rights Truce

A group of legislators from the House and Senate Judiciary Committees are hoping to negotiate a truce between broadcasters and the recording industry over the Performance Rights Act, which would impose a fee on radio stations for music airplay.

In an Oct. 30 letter to the National Association of Broadcasters and the musicFirst Coalition, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), along with four other members, requested that the stakeholders affected by the legislation enter into negotiations before the Performance Rights Act goes to the floor of either House.

Negotiations would begin Nov. 17 and continue through Dec. 1.

Both the National Association of Broadcasters, which opposes the bill and musicFirst, which supports it, have agreed to the meetings.

“We have always said we are ready to sit down with NAB to create a performance right that is fair to artists, musicians and rights holders and fair to radio,” said Jennifer Bendall, executive director of music First.

Although the Performance Rights Act has passed both committees, the bill has met significant opposition in both Houses. More than 252 House members and 27 Senators have co-sponsored the Local Radio Freedom Act, opposing any new fee, tax or royalty on radio stations.

“NAB is of course willing to talk with members of Congress on this issue and any issue that could negatively impact the ability of free and local hometown radio stations to serve our listeners. We would hope that any discussions would also include the nearly 300 members of Congress who oppose the RIAA-backed bill,” said Denis Wharton, executive vp of NAB.

—Ed Christman reports for Billboard.biz.

Publish date: November 2, 2009 https://stage.adweek.com/tv-video/legislators-seek-performance-rights-truce-113921/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT