Press Release

Blackburn, Eshoo Renew Effort to Protect Musicians’ Creative Content

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Washington, April 23, 2015 | Mike Reynard (202-225-1112) | comments
House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, today re-introduced 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. Further, a provision that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from imposing radio chip mandates for mobile devices has been added to the bill. Blackburn and Eshoo first introduced this legislation during the 113th Congress.

“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,” Blackburn said. “Our legislation seeks to modernize outdated law and put an end to a loophole that allows AM/FM radio to avoid paying musicians for their creative work.

“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. Moreover, we have included language to prevent the FCC from extending this injustice through a potential federally imposed chip mandate for mobile devices. This is a basic issue of fairness that must be addressed and I look forward to working with Congresswoman Eshoo and moving this legislation forward.”

“Broadcasters receive billions of dollars annually when their local broadcast television programming is aired by cable and satellite operators, yet when it comes to the music played on their AM/FM radio stations, they refuse to compensate the creator of the music. This double standard is patently unfair,” said Rep. Eshoo.

“The Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act ensures that television broadcasters who opt for retransmission consent fees must also pay artists when their music is played on AM/FM stations, just as they are on Internet and satellite radio. And as more consumers use Internet radio, the bill ensures consumers aren’t locked into outdated technology mandates and can choose how they access local news and music on their mobile device.”

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