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House Judiciary Subcommittee Holds a Hearing on Bill to Impose Performance Fees on Radio


Last week, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet held a hearing titled: “Radio, Music, and Copyrights: 100 Years of Inequity for Recording Artists.” As the title indicates, the hearing was all about imposing a performance fee on over-the-air radio and supporting the latest version of the American Music Fairness Act of 2023. This legislation is the exact opposite of the Local Radio Freedom Act, H. Con. Res, 13, which opposes the imposition of a performance fee on local off-air radio broadcasts. The Local Radio Freedom Act has 225 co-sponsors in the House, while the American Music Fairness Act of 2023 (H.R. 791) has 10 co-sponsors.


Country music star Randy Travis and Michael Juppe, President and CEO of SoundExchange, testified in favor of the American Music Fairness Act. NAB President Curtis Legeyt and Eddie Harrell, Regional VP and General Manager of Radio One, testified on behalf of broadcasters. 


Given the overwhelming support for the Local Radio Freedom Act, it is unlikely that the American Music Fairness Act will move in this session. This hearing was an attempt to kick-start the legislation. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee, is a strong supporter of imposing a performance fee on radio stations. Unfortunately, Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who has been a strong supporter of broadcasters, including the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, supports the American Music Fairness Act.


You can find more information about the hearing, including a video, here.

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