Reps Ask to Be Included at Performance Rights Table

Green, Conaway are leading House fight on NAB’s side
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The lead sponsors of a resolution opposing a performance fee want a seat at the table for the planned negotiating sessions involving the Judiciary Committees of Congress.

Texas Representatives Gene Green, a Democrat, and Michael Conaway, a Republican, say in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., they’d like to be part of the discussions, which are scheduled to begin Nov. 17.

The leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees wants NAB and the musicFirst Coalition to reach an agreement on performance rights before legislation is taken up on the floor in both houses of Congress. Both parties say they’re willing to meet with members of Congress about the issue.

“We have serious concerns that legislation imposing a new royalty on local radio stations, particularly in this economic climate, will be tremendously harmful to radio stations and their employees, local communities that rely on radio, and recipients, such as charities and non-profits, that receive free airtime for their causes,” Green and Conaway said in their letter this week.

“Additionally, this legislation could negatively affect existing songwriter royalties and reduce airtime available to new, undiscovered performers seeking their ‘break’ on local radio.”

More than 250 House members support the “Local Radio Freedom Act,” sponsored by Green and Conaway.

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Performance Rights Heats Up

The performance rights issue, or as NAB calls it, a “performance tax,” is getting more attention in advance of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue scheduled for next week.