Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed the American Music Fairness Act. This bill would impose a performance copyright fee on over-the-air radio broadcasts. One of the leading proponents of the bill was the House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D. NY). The bill passed the committee by voice vote.
Despite passing the House Judiciary Committee, the bill will not pass the House. Broadcasters have more than 250 members of the House supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes the imposition of a performance fee on over-the-air broadcasts. The bottom line is that this bill is not moving this year. NAB President Curtis LeGeyt stated:
“NAB thanks the members of the House Judiciary Committee who voted against the AMFA today, and the more than 250 members of Congress – including a majority of the House of Representatives – that support a resolution opposing this new performance royalty on local radio. These lawmakers understand that AMFA will harm local broadcasters and audiences around the country, undermine our ability to serve their communities and ultimately fail artists by leading to less music airplay. Broadcasters urge the recording industry to join us in serious discussions instead of using the few legislative days left in the calendar to pursue divisive legislation that faces broad congressional opposition.”
NYSBA strongly opposed the American Music Fairness Act. We are delighted to see that this legislation will not pass this year. Unfortunately, several members of the New York Delegation followed Chairman Nadler and supported the American Music Fairness Act, including Rep. Jamaal Bowman, [D-NY-16], Rep. Adriano Espaillat, [D-NY-13], Rep. Brian Higgins [D-NY-26], Rep. Gregory Meeks, [D-NY-5], and Rep. Thomas Suozzi [D-NY-3].
On the other hand, we want to thank the 10 members of the New York Delegation who supported the Local Radio Freedom Act and opposed imposing a performance fee on over-the-air radio broadcasts. The New York Representatives, mostly Republican, who supported the Local Radio Freedom Act are as follows: Rep. Andrew Garbarino, [R-NY-2], Rep. Chris Jacobs [R-NY-27], Rep. John Katko, [R-NY-24], Rep. Nicole Malliotakis [R-NY-11], Rep. Gregory Meeks [D-NY-5], Rep. Tom Reed, [R-NY-23] Rep. Joseph Sempolinski, [R-NY-23], Rep. Elise Stefanik. [R-NY-21], Rep. Claudia Tenney, [R-NY-22], and Rep. Lee Zeldin [R-NY-1].
This issue will come back in the next Congress. With Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives, it will become more difficult to pass legislation that will impose a performance fee on local stations.