The American Music Fairness Act (AMFA), which might require AM/FM stations to pay efficiency royalties to music creators and copyright holders for radio airplay within the U.S., simply cleared a key hurdle in Congress — although the invoice is unlikely to go earlier than the brand new session of Congress convenes in January.
In a mark-up session on Wednesday (Dec. 7), the House Judiciary Committee (which offers with copyright issues) voted to advance the invoice, clearing its method for a full vote on the House flooring. To grow to be legislation, the invoice would must be permitted by the complete House of Representatives in addition to the Senate after which signed into legislation by President Biden. However, the proposed laws is unlikely to go within the present session of Congress, which is drawing to a detailed on the finish of the month, until it’s tacked onto a must-pass invoice in the course of the lame duck interval.
In a gap assertion previous to the vote, Judiciary Committee rating member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) famous that bipartisan negotiations over the AMFA in current months “stalled and never reached a resolution,” although he expressed confidence the invoice may make it by the subsequent Congress.
“While today’s debate is an important start in this conversation, if the American music Fairness Act has not become law this Congress, negotiations must resume next year,” Jordan stated. “We believe there’s a deal to be struck here that is fair to all sides most importantly, fair to taxpayers and consumers.”
The AMFA is simply the most recent try by members of Congress to compel radio stations to pay efficiency royalties, which is a typical apply in different nations however has not traditionally been required within the U.S. In Nov. 2019, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) launched an analogous invoice, the Ask Musicians for Music Act, which might have allowed artists and copyright house owners to barter efficiency royalty charges with radio stations in trade for permission to play their music. That piece of laws adopted a earlier invoice, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act — additionally launched by Blackburn and Nadler — that got down to obtain the identical objective.
The AMFA was launched within the House by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) in June 2021, with the laws introduced throughout a press convention attended by singers Dionne Warwick and Sam Moore and Dropkick Murphys singer/bassist Ken Casey. A companion invoice was launched within the Senate by Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) this previous September.
Unlike satellite tv for pc/on-line radio and streaming providers, AM/FM stations pay solely songwriter royalties on the music they broadcast. To rectify that, the AMFA laws would set up honest market worth for radio efficiency royalties in the identical method it has been for these different platforms.
The invoice was a response to the Local Radio Freedom Act, a non-binding decision launched in May 2021 by Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) that opposes the imposition of a efficiency royalty, which proponents argue could be financially devastating for broadcasters. A companion decision was launched within the Senate by Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and John Barrasso (R-WY). Both resolutions are backed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which has lengthy been against implementing a efficiency royalty payout on terrestrial radio.
In an announcement on Wednesday’s vote, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. referred to as it “an important step,” including, “I am grateful to Chairman Nadler, Rep. Issa, and members of the committee for supporting the music community’s right to fair pay. It is vital to the health of our industry that creators are compensated for the use of their intellectual property on terrestrial radio, and the Recording Academy will continue to advocate for AMFA until this bill is signed into law.”
The Recording Academy is a key supporter of the AMFA together with organizations together with the AFL-CIO, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the American Federation of Musicians, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), SAG-AFTRA, SoundExchange and the musicFIRST Coalition. Over the previous a number of weeks, greater than 100 artists together with Warwick, Common, Harry Belafonte, Jack White, Becky G, Cyndi Lauper and Gloria Estefan have signed their names to a letter urging lawmakers to support the bill.
“To be clear, this fight is far from over,” stated musicFIRST chairman and former Democratic congressman Joe Crowley in an announcement. “We still have further to go before this important bill can be passed into law and improve the lives of artists across this country, and we know that Big Radio corporations will continue to oppose us every step of the way.”
In his personal assertion celebrating Wednesday’s vote, SoundExchange president and CEO Michael Huppe referred to as on the complete House to go the invoice. “Tens of thousands of music creators – our family, friends, and neighbors – are counting on Congress to do the right thing and help them get paid for their work. We cannot let them down,” he stated.
On the opposite aspect of the difficulty, NAB CEO and president Curtis LeGeyt thanked the committee members who voted in opposition to advancing the AMFA, together with members of Congress who’ve supported the Local Radio Freedom Act decision that stands in opposition to the invoice.
“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,” stated LeGeyt. “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.”