Members of Congress Support American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) in Editorial

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The main co-sponsors of the American Music Fairness Act doubled down on their support for the legislation in an editorial. Photo credit: Gabriel Gurrola

Just days after legendary singer Dionne Warwick called on Congress to pass the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA), Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) – who introduced the legislation at the end of June – backed the bill in an editorial of their own.

This last element of the long-standing battle over radio royalties began in early May, when various members of Congress, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), reintroduced the freedom of the local radio station, almost ten years old. Law (LRFA).

Legislation supported by the National Association of Broadcasters would leave in place the existing royalty framework for traditional radio stations, expressly prohibiting the implementation of “any new performance fees, taxes, charges or other charges relating to the” public performance of sound recordings on a radio station. “

The American Music Fairness Act, on the other hand, would seek to require AM / FM radio stations to pay royalties for the recordings they broadcast. Senior officials from the National Association of Broadcasters said in an official statement at the end of July that their radio license legislation had been co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 169 representatives and 22 senators.

Dionne Warwick – who appeared at a press conference unveiling the AMFA – then released the aforementioned editorial, which was followed by a second editorial supporting the bill. Written by Rep. Deutch and Rep. Issa, again, the concise article quickly tackles the lack of recorded royalties paid by radio stations.

“Virtually every other country in the world ensures that performers get paid when their music is used by radio stations to generate profit – but somehow the United States is getting paid. find themselves stuck in the dark ages when it comes to rewarding musicians for their hard work, ”one reads. the first sentence of the strong word article, which was published in Call.

After that, the precise text states that “American broadcasters have raised billions of dollars in advertising” from music over the past century or so, and it is “a long time since FM / AM radio stations” have joined the ranks. satellite radio companies. and streaming services by paying for the use of masters.

Regarding the specificities of the legislation, the representative’s article indicates that the AMFA “would allow the promotional value provided by broadcasting to be taken into account when determining the rates and terms”.

In this regard, the legislation itself notes that copyright royalty judges, when setting the registered royalty rates for traditional radio stations whose revenues exceed predefined ceilings, “base their decision on economic, competitive and programming information presented by the parties. “This information indicates” whether the use of the station’s service may replace or promote the sales of phonographic recordings or may interfere with or may enhance the other revenue streams of the owner of the copyright in the sound recording.

Going back to the editorial, the authors mention the revenue caps: “Our legislation specifies that local ground stations with annual revenues of less than $ 1.5 million and annual revenues of parent companies of less than $ 10 million. million dollars would only pay $ 500 a year, covering all the music they play for just over a dollar a day.

“Public, university and other non-commercial stations would pay only $ 100 per year. And the smaller stations – the ones most in need of protection with revenues of less than $ 100,000 a year – would only pay $ 10 a year. These small payments recognize that there is value in every song on the radio, without creating a burden for small local stations, ”the article relays towards its conclusion.

At the time of publication, the National Association of Broadcasters did not appear to have publicly responded to this latest editorial in support of the American Music Fairness Act, which currently has six representatives as cosponsors.


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