House Judiciary Committee to Vote on Journalism Competition and Preservation Act and Performance Fee Legislation

There will be significant activity in the House Judiciary Committee this week. This Committee is Chaired by Rep. Gerry Nadler (D NY). Several Key Broadcast Bills are scheduled to be on the agenda.

American Music Fairness Act – H.R. 4130: This legislation would impose a performance fee on over-the-air radio broadcasts. Under current law, local stations pay significant copyright fees to BMA, ASCAP, SESAC, and GMS. These payments go to the songwriters, not the performers. The American Music Fairness Act would add an additional copyright fee that would be paid to the performers.

NYSBA strongly opposes this legislation and has made our concerns known to the New York Congressional Delegation. At the present time, there are only 33 co-sponsors for this bill. Compare this to the Local Radio Freedom Act, which has 229 members of the House on the record opposing the imposition of performance fees on radio stations.

While it is unlikely this bill will pass as a standalone bill, Chairman Nadler wants to push this legislation forward. Remember Chairman Nadler’s district includes a number of Broadway performers, and he has long supported this legislation.

Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) – HR 1735: As noted in the previous article above, this legislation creates an exemption to the antitrust laws which will allow local stations and newspapers to negotiate collectively with “Big Tech” to use their content. The legislation currently has 67 co-sponsors.

We understand that the Senate has included the JCPA in the National Defense Authorization Act, which is “must pass legislation.” This increases the probability that the legislation will pass this year.

We strongly support this legislation. Fortunately, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler supports this legislation. Again, the goal is to move the legislation through committee and attach it to a larger “must pass” bill.

NYSBA is communicating with members of the Judiciary Committee to 1) Oppose the so-called American Music Fairness Act and 2) Support the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.

 

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