Radio industry efforts to derail proposed legislation that would mandate a performance royalty on AM/FM airplay continue to gain momentum. Four more members of the House of Representatives have joined as cosponsors of the NAB-backed non-binding resolution that opposes “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio.
The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) now has 191 cosponsors in the House, inching closer to the 218 required to effectively block any legislation from passing. During the previous session of Congress broadcaster lobbying efforts were successful in securing the support of 234 House members. The total number of Senators who’ve signed a companion resolution in this session is 22.
Adding their support to the resolution are Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Andy Harris (R-MD), Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the House Republican Conference.
While royalty opponents continue to make progress, those in favor of ending radio’s decades-old performance royalty exemption are hardly sitting still. The proposed Fair Play Fair Pay Act (H.R. 1836) that would create a radio royalty, introduced in March by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), has so far lined up a total of 21 cosponsors. It would not only create a radio royalty but would also require stations to pay royalties on songs recorded before Feb. 15, 1972 when federal copyright protection began. The bill also would take steps to end what supporters say are the below-market royalties paid by SiriusXM Radio.