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Eshoo, Blackburn Introduce Legislation to Protect Musicians' Creative Content

May 14th, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced H.R. 4588, the Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act. This bipartisan legislation would condition the ability of broadcasters to opt for retransmission consent payments on whether radio stations they own pay performers for their music.

“Today, broadcasters profit from airing music on AM/FM radio without compensating the creator of that music. This is patently unfair.” Eshoo said. “The Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act ensures that broadcasters who receive billions of dollars each year in retransmission consent fees for their content must also pay artists when their music is played on AM/FM stations, just as they are on Internet and satellite radio.”

“This is a basic issue of modernizing the law to get rid of a dated loophole that only applies to AM/FM radio,” Blackburn said. “Internet radio pays music creators fair market value for their performances, Satellite radio pays music creators for performances, Cable and Satellite TV/radio stations pay music creators for their performances. Everyone but AM/FM radio pays.”

Blackburn continued, “Broadcasters have repeatedly told us that retransmission consent payments are fair because cable and satellite stations make millions by retransmitting local broadcast content. However, when it comes to music, the same broadcasters, many who own both TV and radio stations, sing a completely different tune. This is simply an issue of fairness and I look forward to working with Congresswoman Eshoo on fixing this glaring inconsistency.”

“When Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” is played on Internet radio or satellite radio, Kenny gets paid, but when it is played on AM/FM radio, he doesn’t get anything. NAB’s radio members won’t pay Kenny Rogers for his recording of The Gambler, but they demand to be paid when the TV movie of the Gambler is retransmitted. Fair pay for all creators shouldn’t be a gamble,” concluded Blackburn.”

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