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Radio Performance Royalty Bills Make Headlines, Not Progress

David Oxenford predicts neither the PROMOTE Act nor Fair Play Fair Pay Act will pass

In his latest Broadcast Law Blog post, attorney David Oxenford expresses skepticism about “two bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives seeking to impose a performance royalty for sound recordings on broadcast radio stations in the U.S.”

Oxenford writes that the Performance Royalty Owners of Music Opportunity to Earn Act (AKA the PROMOTE Act) has serious logistical flaws, while the (reintroduced) Fair Play, Fair Pay Act failed to pass in an earlier Congress.

He notes that Rep. Darryl Issa’s PROMOTE Act neither requires “all radio stations … to pay the royalty” (exceptions are made for religious and educational stations and “incidental use,” as well as LPFMs, none of which are defined), nor does it establish rates and terms that can be implemented by radio broadcasters because of technological challenges, not to mention significant fee increases for broadcasters.

“Given its lack of precision as to its terms and the methodology for paying the royalty, this seems to be nothing more than a bill introduced to make some headlines,” Oxenford writes.

Additionally, the National Association of Broadcasters promotes its Local Radio Freedom Act and opposes both the PROMOTE Act and the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act.

However, “[t]hese issues are likely to be hashed out in the broader review of the Copyright Act,” Oxenford predicts.

Read the full blog online here.