parity

Gov't policy paper acknowledges radio's "competitive advantage" over digital services regarding royalties

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 10:40am

The U.S. Department of Commerce yesterday issued a policy statement that, among other things, supports the idea that U.S. broadcasters "enjoy a competitive advantage over emerging digital services" since they're not obligated to pay performance royalties for recordings.

"Pureplay" webcasters have long argued for parity for the licensed use of copyright recordings. While U.S. broadcasters have no obligation to pay sound recording copyright owners or performers, Internet-, satellite-, and cable-radio operators pay royalties which can amount to a majority of their revenues. Both broadcasters and newer digital forms of radio pay for the use of musical compositions.

The Department's Internet Policy Task Force paper reiterates the Administration's support for a broadcast "performance right" for sound recordings. A press release announcing the paper says it also "supports congressional or regulatory attention to determine how best to rationalize rate-setting standards for different types of music services; reform music licensing, particularly the mechanical license for musical compositions..."

The paper itself is here; the press release is here.

Rep. Mel Watt (N.C.-D) told colleagues last week he plans to introduce a bill that would recognize a performance right for sound recordings on radio, with the hopes of encouraging broadcasters and copyright owners to reach marketplace aggreements. More in RAIN here.

Syndicate content