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Opposition To RIAA Performance Tax Tops 250 In House, Reaches 25 In Senate September 23, 2009

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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A bipartisan group of 251 House members and 25 U.S. Senators are now on record in opposition to a performance tax, NAB announced.

The overwhelming Congressional opposition comes as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continues to lobby in support of legislation that would require local radio stations to pay an additional fee for every song aired free to listeners.

Meanwhile, Universal Music sent an email this week to local radio stations, thanking them for the free airplay provided for musicians Taylor Swift and Jaysean.

“Thank You Radio For Simultaneous #1 Tracks @ Top 40 and Rhythm!” reads the email.

The record label’s recognition of the unparalleled promotional value of radio airplay contradicts statements made by recording industry representatives in Washington who have characterized radio airplay as “a form of piracy.”

“Support in both the House and Senate for free and local radio continues to grow, despite an unprecedented lobbying campaign by RIAA,” said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. “We’re hopeful that Congress ultimately rejects this bill and preserves the ability of local radio to freely expose new artists and new music to 235 million listeners every week.”

Sens. Mary Landrieu (LA) and John Thune (SD) and Reps. Dennis Cardoza (CA-18), John Boccieri (OH-16), Brian Baird (WA-3), Joe Sestak (PA-7) and Daniel Lungren (CA-3) are the most recent co-sponsors of The Local Radio Freedom Act (H. Con. Res. 49, S. Con. Res. 14), a bipartisan resolution expressly opposing the record label-led performance tax effort.

The Local Radio Freedom Act is now supported by a group of 251 House members and 25 U.S. Senators.

“Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings,” reads The Local Radio Freedom Act, which was unveiled at a February Capitol Hill event hosted by the Free Radio Alliance. The resolution was introduced by Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) and Mike Conaway (TX-11) in the House and by Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and John Barrasso (WY) in the Senate.

FCC Seeks Comments On MusicFIRST Petition August 16, 2009

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The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on the petition filed by the musicFIRST Coalition. The petition details how radio stations across the country refuse to air musicFIRST ads, threaten artists who support the effort to create a fair performance right on radio and continue to run misleading ads produced by the National Association of Broadcasters – all in an effort to further their own private commercial interests at the expense of their public interest obligations.

“We are pleased that the FCC has taken the first step in response to the musicFIRST petition,” said Jennifer Bendall, executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition. “Since we filed the petition in June, corporate radio’s spokespersons have not only confirmed the charges made in the petition, but boasted that they will continue to use the public airwaves to misinform policy makers and the public and punish artists and musicians for speaking out in support of a fair performance right on radio while refusing to run musicFIRST’s ads.”

The FCC is seeking comment on these actions and, according to the FCC notice, “whether and to what extent broadcasters are engaging in a media campaign, coordinated by NAB [National Association of Broadcasters], which disseminates falsities about the PRA [Performance Rights Act].”