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Civil Rights Groups Seek Delay on Performance Royalty

Jesse Jackson, Barbara Arnwine: Bill would 'eviscerate' minority-owned radio

Civil rights leaders want Congress to delay action on a performance royalty until more is learned about the potential effort on minority broadcasters.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law believe the House Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing on the issue.

Rainbow PUSH and the Lawyers’ Committee wrote in a letter to committee members that “the chief remaining resource to ensure that African Americans can participate fully in the democratic process will be the continued engagement of minority radio broadcasters to drive turnout.”

Legislation backed by the record labels to make radio stations pay a performance right for copyrighted music that is aired “would eviscerate this remaining, powerful resource,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and Barbara Arnwine in their letter.

NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said the letters “raise important questions regarding the negative impact of the performance tax on minority broadcasters, niche programming formats and media diversity.”

NAB has placed a print ad in Capitol Hill newspapers thanking 184 representatives and six senators who have cosponsored a countering resolution, the Local Radio Freedom Act. “190 and growing …” states the ad (PDF image).