Washington - Feb 13, 2009 - With the pressure from the record industry to revoke the exemption that terrestrial radio stations have enjoyed by not paying performance rights fees for music, the House of Representatives has responded to cries from the NAB and others to maintain the exemption. The Local Radio Freedom Act resolution was introduced on Feb. 12, 2009, by Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Conaway (R-TX). It is identified as House Resolution 49.
The bill notes the relationship that the record industry and terrestrial enjoy and its mutual benefits. The bill also notes that Congress has rejected repeated calls by the recording industry to impose a performance fee on local radio stations for the past 80 years.
The National Association of Broadcasters has used the mutual benefit case of radio providing free publicity and promotion to the recording industry and performers through air play, interviews, concert promotions and publicity that promotes the sale of music, concert tickets, ring tones, music videos and associated merchandise. This same wording is in the bill.
In addition, the bill cites that imposing a performance fee would result in a financial hardship for radio stations.
The main point of the bill states:
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.
The bill currently has 112 sponsors in the House. The House bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary for review. It is expected that the Senate will introduce its own resolution on the act.
The two congressmen introduced the original bill in November 2007.
The NAB hosted an event of the Free Radio Alliance on Feb. 12 to show the support of the bill's sponsors and several radio broadcasters.