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Copyright Office Backs Radio Performance Royalty

Congress would need to pass any change

The U.S. Copyright Office has reiterated its stand that broadcast radio should pay a performance royalty.

A study entitled “Copyright and the Music Marketplace” details what it calls “the aging music licensing framework.”

Music is important, however “the reality is that both music creators and the innovators who support them are increasingly doing business in legal quicksand,” according to Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante.

According to the report, creators should be fairly compensated, the licensing process should be more efficient and payment and use data should be more transparent, but there’s less agreement on how to move forward.

The Copyright Office also backs federal protection for pre-1972 sound recordings.

Record-label-backed musicFirst Coalition Executive Director Ted Kalo called the report “a game-changing moment” for the performance royalty debate.

The Copyright Office has for decades proposed music licensing recommendations looking only through the lens of copyright owners, according to NAB EVP Communications Dennis Wharton. “NAB will review this sweeping report and engage both Congress and the Copyright Office as they consider policies that recognize the interests of consumers and innovators.”

ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams characterized the report as “an important step towards meaningful reform.”

Congress would need to okay any changes to music copyright laws and lawmakers have previously rejected a new performance royalty for broadcast stations.