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Music royalty buzz grows despite growing Congressional opposition to Performance Tax

 - Deep dive session slated for TAB Convention

With the House Judiciary Committee undertaking a comprehensive, year-long review of the entire body of U.S. copyright law, various proposals to change how music royalties are assessed appear to grow by the day.

Two such proposals include the Songwriter Equity Act which would increase the fees that all music platforms pay to ASCAP and BMI, and the RESPECT Act which for the first time would assess royalties on streaming of pre-1972 sound recordings. A third proposal would prohibit a television group that also owns radio stations from collecting retransmission consent payments unless it pays a Performance Tax.

The committee’s deliberations have been widely reported, including one last week that featured only music industry representatives who, in part, strongly advocated for enacting a Performance Tax on radio stations.

Its next hearing, June 25, will include NAB Joint Board Chairman Charles Warfield who will respond to some of the outrageous claims made by those Performance Tax advocates.

Add to that the Department of Justice’s decision to review the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees and the Copyright Royalty Board’s new rate-setting proceeding, and it’s clear that music royalties will take center stage in any potential rewrite of the Copyright Act.

But to be certain, there will be no actual legislating this year on the rewrite or any of the measures introduced to date.

And despite the buzz, Congressional opposition to a Performance Tax continues to increase, with 227 members of the House now co-sponsoring H. Con. Res. 16, the bipartisan “will of the House” resolution co-authored by Congressman Mike Conaway, R-Midland, and Gene Green, D-Houston.

Nonetheless, Texas broadcasters must remain vigilant and respond to calls to weigh in with key members of Congress as needed. 

Those attending the TAB Annual Convention Aug. 6-7 will get a thorough overview of the music royalty landscape at a newly added session featuring attorney David Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer. A partial assessment is available here.

Program and Registration Information

Questions?  Contact TAB's Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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