Legislation Tracker

Contents

114th Congress (2015-2016)

113th Congress (2013-2014)

H.R. 5757: Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2016

Introducedin House:
07/13/2016 by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA). Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA(full text)
What it Does:

Seeks the development of less formal, streamlined process for handling small copyright claims through a Board within the Copyright Office to hear copyright infringement claims, non-infringement claims, and infringement related contract cases not exceeding $30,000. The Board would be given the power to award actual damages, profits, or limited statutory damages.

Supporters: The Authors Guild, Songwriters Guild of America, Newspaper Association of America (NAA), American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), American Photographic Artists (APA), Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and Future of Music Coalition
Opponents: None that we can find.
FMC’s Take It’s often been said that there’s no right without a remedy.  Mounting a federal copyright infringement lawsuit is often extremely expensive and time consuming, which drastically limits the kinds of parties who are able to act to stop infringement and deter further infringement; for creators facing clear cases of infringement, this can be deeply frustrating.  Creating an accessible small claims process with a lower barrier to entry would be an important step towards making sure that copyright law works for small creators.
More Information: Coming Soon
Status: This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on July 13, 2016, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole.
 

H.R. 4823 - Bringing Entertainment Artists to the States (BEATS) Act of 2016

Introduced in House: 3/31/2016 by David Trott (R- MI), Chris Collins (R-NY) & Peter Welch (D-VT) (full text)
What it Does:

Seeks to make it easier for Canadian performing artists to enter the United States to perform and tour by speeding up and simplifying the process of obtaining a P-2 visa. One major aspect of the proposed amendment is that after admission to the United States, a Canadian citizen may during the period of valid nonimmigrant status without filing an amended petition, alter the dates and venues of performances listed in the original petition as long as the additional performances or engagements are no more than one third of the performances or engagements listed on the original petition.  That means Canadian artists have more flexibility in arranging their tour dates and schedules.

Supporters: American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Recording Academy and Future of Music Coalition
Opponents: None that we can find.
FMC’s Take Right now, it’s way too difficult for Canadian musicians to tour the United States.  We support this common-sense effort to make cultural exchange easier across our Northern border.
More Information: Blog: New Legislation Would Streamline Touring For Canadian Artists
Status: Referred to House Judiciary Committee.

S. 2510 Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act of 2016

Introduced
in House
:

4/30/2015 by Orrin Hatch (R-TN) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (full text)
What it Does:

Expedites the processing of visas for international performers seeking to perform in the United States.  Requires the Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) to make a decision on visa applications for O & P visa petitions (which includes artists, musicians, and entertainers) within 14 days, and grants premium expedited processing to petitions from nonprofit organizations sponsoring performances if DHS misses that deadline.

Supporters: Americans For The Arts, Performing Arts Alliance, Future of Music Coalition
Opponents: None that we can find
FMC’s Take It can be very frustrating for international musicians facing delays in visa processing that lead to extra expenses, and even cancelled tours.  This bill isn’t a silver bullet (it helps artists working with non-profit organizations the most), but it’s definitely a step toward solving this recurrent problem.  That’s good news for US music fans wanting to see their favorite international artists perform, and for the US musicians who collaborate with and perform alongside their international peers.
More Information: Blog:  ARTS Act Introduced to Help International Musicians Tour USA
Status: referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

S. 1177 Every Child Achieves Act (aka Every Student Succeeds Act) of 2015

Introduced in Senate: 4/30/2015 by Lamar Alexandar (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) (full text)
What it Does:

The Every Child Achieves Act is a bipartisan educational policy reform bill that would expand state responsibility over schools, provide grants to charter schools, and reduce the federal test-based accountability system of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), essentially ending that program in the process. ECAA gives states more flexibility in determining how to handle whatever federal test scores are still mandated. It also places greater emphasis on music and arts education by naming them core subjects.

Supporters: Americans For The Arts, National Association for Music Education, amongst others
Opponents:  Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Women’s Law Center
FMC’s Take We’re delighted to see music and arts named as core subjects.  That’s good news for US students, but also good news for working musicians who make part of their living as music educators.
Status: The Act was passed and signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015.

H.R. 2882 Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2015

Introduced in House: 6/24/2015 by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) (full text)
What it Does:

Funds a competitive federal grant program to improve academic achievement, student development, and college and career readiness for neighborhoods with high concentrations of low-income individuals and persistently low-achieving schools or schools with an achievement gap.

One consideration for awarding grants will be quality of expanded learning time, defined as “instruction in other subjects and enrichment and other activities that contribute to a well-rounded education, including music and the arts, physical education, service-learning, and experiential and work-based learning opportunities (such as community service, learning apprenticeships, internships, and job shadowing).”

Supporters: Harlem Children’s Zone, Center for the Study of Social Policy
Opponents: None that we can find.
FMC’s Take While specific educational policy initiatives are outside our area of expertise, we’re pleased to see quality music education specifically named as a factor in awarding federal grant money
Status: Referred to House Subcommittee



H.R. 1733 Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015

Introduced in House: 4/13/2015 by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) & Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) (full text)
What it Does: Makes a series of changes to how licensing works for sound recordings on radio and radio-like services:
1) Requires AM/FM Broadcast Stations to compensate performers and sound recording copyright owners when their work is played on the radio (currently only songwriters and publishers are compensated) while protecting small broadcasters.
2) Requires digital broadcasters to pay performers for the use of pre-1972 sound recordings.
3) Sets additional conditions for determining rates on non-interactive digital music services, placing these services under the same rate standard and creating parity between different music delivery methods.
4) Maintains the fair revenue splits and direct payment provisions for any direct deals between a label and a non-interactive service.
5) Creates a streamlined provision for paying producers & engineers for digital broadcast of sound recordings, incorporating the earlier AMP Act.
Supporters: MusicFirst Coalition, American Association of Independent Music, SAG-AFTRA, American Federation of Musicians, Future of Music Coalition, Content Creators Coalition, Recording Academy, RIAA, AFL-CIO, Citizens Against Government Waste
Opponents: National Association of Broadcasters, Free Radio Alliance (which is really just a faux grassroots group run by the National Association of Broadcasters), National Religious Broadcasters, Digital Media Association
FMC’s Take: There’s a lot to appreciate about this ambitious bill.  Its centerpiece is creating a performance right for sound recordings on AM/FM, meaning the US would finally catch up with the rest of the world and pay artists when they get played on the radio.  The protections for small broadcasters (including college and community radio) are the strongest ever included in a performance right bill.  We also applaud the bill’s call for clear and equitable creator splits as well as direct payment to performers.

There are a few areas where there’s more to be done. We’d have liked to see the provisions about pre-1972 sound recording copyrights go futher and extend full federal copyright protections for these works, allowing veteran artists to recapture their copyrights after a set term. For now, musicians should feel good that there’s some forward motion on important issues related to their compensation.
More Information: Blog: A Look Inside the Fair Play Fair Pay Act.
Blog: What’s the Deal with Pre-1972 Copyrights?
Factsheet: Public Performance Right
Factsheet: Soundexchange
Blog: The Quest For Royalties For the Use of Sound Recordings on AM/FM Radio: In Full Swing
Blog: Artists’ Pay for Radio Play: A View From The Green Room
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Status: Referred to House Judiciary Committee.



H.J. Res. 42 - Disapproving the Rule Submitted by the FCC

Introduced in House: 4/13/2015 by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
What it Does: Disapproves and nullifies the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, in accordance with the Congressional Review Act which allows for Congress to review and vote on regulations proposed by government agencies.
Opponents: Future of Music Coalition, Free Press, basically everyone who supported Net Neutrality.
FMC’s Take: Another unfortunate attempt to undo the important protections just instituted by the FCC’s Open Internet Order.  Those are basic protections that musicians and independent labels desperately need in order to ensure their access to audiences online.
More Information: Blog:  Stuck On Replay: More Attempts to Stop Net Neutrality
Blog:  What’s Next for Net Neutrality
Status: Referred to House Energy & Commerce Committee; doesn’t really have a chance of passing, and even if it did, President Obama would be certain to veto.



H.R. 1457 Allocation for Music Producers Act

Introduced in House: 3/19/2015 by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) & Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) (full text)
What it Does: Amends the copyright act to allow for a portion of sound recording performance royalties to be paid directly to producers and engineers in certain circumstances.  It formalizes a “letter of direction” process whereby artists can designate a portion of their royalties to go to these studio personnel.  And it creates a process by which producers can seek permission from artists or their heirs to recieve appropriate royalty payments for sound recordings from before 1995.
Supporters: Recording Academy, SoundExchange, Future of Music Coalition
Opponents: None that we can find.
FMC’s Take: Soundexchange already has some provisions to pay producers & engineers a share of royalties, if artists grant permission. The AMP Act simply makes it easier for these studio professionals to get paid, so long as the artist authorizes this distribution. Audioworkers are a crucial part of our music community, and this bill is a common sense measure that’s easy to support.
More Information: Blog:  New Bill Would Authorize Royalties for Audioworkers
Factsheet: Soundexchange
Status: Referred to House Energy & Commerce Committee; unlikely to come up for a vote because it’s been folded in to the Fair Play Fair Pay Act.



H.R. 1212 Internet Freedom Act

Introduced in House: 3/30/2015 by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
What it Does: Prohibits the FCC from reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service or considering it in the future, essentially undoing the FCC’s Feb 2015 vote to adopt new Net Neutrality rules
Supporters: Not even the cable lobby group NCTA will openly support this bill, though they do “agree with the premise”
Opponents: Future of Music Coalition, Free Press, basically everyone who supported Net Neutrality.
FMC’s Take: The best thing you can say about this bill is that it’s straightforward. It rolls back the important protections just instituted by the FCC’s Open Internet Order.  Those are basic protections that musicians and independent labels desperately need in order to ensure their access to audiences online and have fought for, over the course of a decade. 
More Information: Blog:  What’s Next for Net Neutrality
Status: Referred to Committee; doesn’t really have a chance of passing.



H.R. 708  Better Online Ticket Sales Act

Introduced in House: 2/4/2015 by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) & 5 cosponsors (full text)
What it Does: Prohibits the use of “bots” which bypass control measures in online ticket sales meant to prevent anyone from buying lots of tickets to live concerts and events for resale at a marked up price.  The bill identifies the use of such bots as an “unfair or deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Comission Act, thus making it a federal crime, and providing an avenue for those who have suffered such damages to reclaim them in federal court.
Supporters: Recording Academy, Ticketmaster, LiveNation, Tennessee Sports&Entertainment Coalition, Future of Music Coalition
Opponents: Scalpers?
FMC’s Take:

We’re generally supportive of measures that help ensure that tickets end up in fans’ hands, rather than scalpers, and that money paid for live events ends up in artists’ & promoters pockets rather than opportunistic resellers who contribute nothing to the concert experience.

Bots are a real problem, and it’s good to address them.  But there are a number of other issues that would need to be addressed to really tackle predatory resale practices. Ticketmaster, for example, often holds back a large quantity of tickets so they can be sold at inflated prices. 

More Information:

The Tennessean: “Blackburn offers bill to crack down on ticket bots”

Blog: New Bill Tackles Ticket-Buying Bots

Status: Referred to committee.


H.R. 1283/S. 6621 Songwriter Equity Act of 2015

Introduced in House: 3/04/2015 by Doug Collins, (R-GA) & 14 cosponsors (full text)
Introduced in Senate: 3/04/2015 by Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Corker (R-TN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI(full text)
What it Does:

Currently, when setting or adjusting royalty rates for compositions (paid to publishers and songwriters), license fees for the digital public performance of sound recordings (paid to performers and labels), cannot be taken into account. This bill would change that to allow for evidence from sound recording rate proceedings to be admissible when setting rates for compositions. 

It would also change the way mechanical license royalty rates are calculated by Copyright Royalty Judges; they would be asked to try and figure out rates and terms that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and seller. Judges would look at comparable uses and circumstances under voluntary license agreements.

Supporters: National Music Publishers Association, The Recording Academy, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Songwriters’ Guild
Opponents: Digital Music Association, National Association of Broadcasters, Sirius XM
FMC’s Take: While we appreciate the aims of the bill and are encouraged to see some attention paid to the unique concerns of songwriters, we do have concerns about some provisions; we’re not sure that applying the “willing seller/willing buyer” standard is the only way for songwriters to obtain a fair rate. (read our press release)
More Information: Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Status: Referred to committee.


H. Con. Res. 17/S. Con. Res. 4 Local Radio Freedom Act

Introduced in House: 2/24/2015 by Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX) (full text)
Introduced in Senate: 2/24/2015 by Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) (full text)
What it Does: Declares that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.

This is just a resolution, not a bill, so it’s not actually binding. 
Supporters: National Association of Broadcasters
Opponents: Future of Music Coalition, American Federation of Musicians, MusicFirst, SoundExchange, Center for Individual Freedom
FMC’s Take: This bill is primarily a vehicle for the broadcasting lobby to flex their muscles in support of the status quo, where artists generally aren’t paid when music is played on AM/FM Radio. The premise is misleading in a number of ways. For one, how “local” are the commercial stations that the NAB represents, really? Increasingly, they are owned by one of just a few large broadcasting companies. And these companies pushing radio in a less local direction through consolidated ownership, which results in fewer local DJs and more homogenous playlists. So while LRFA purports to protect something local or “homegrown,” this isn’t really the case.  The rest of the world compensates performers for radio airplay, and it’s time the US joined them.
More Information: Factsheet: Public Performance Right
Blog: Guess Who’s Behind the Local Radio Freedom Act?
Blog: The Quest For Royalties For the Use of Sound Recordings on AM/FM Radio: In Full Swing
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Status: It has the support of the House. However, it’s mostly a symbolic gesture, so it’s unlikely to come up for a vote.

 

H.R. 238 - Copyright And Marriage Equality Act

Introduced in House: 1/09/2015 by Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and 19 co-sponsors (full text)
Introduced in Senate: 1/06/2015 by Patrick Leahy (D-WA) and 7 co-sponsors (full text)
What it Does: Currently, the widow or widower of a copyright holder is entitled to inheritance rights to their spouse’s copyrighted works. But because some states recognize marriages of same sex couples and others do not, certain surviving spouses may be denied this right based on the state they are living in. The Copyright and Marriage Equality Act amends the Copyright Act to clarify that married same-sex couples would be treated the same as opposite-sex couples with regards to inheritance of copyright, regardless of whether the state they live in recognizes same-sex marriage.
Supporters: Human Rights Campaign, Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG - AFTRA), Writers Guild of America, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Future of Music Coalition, Directors Guild of America, Authors Guild, LGBT Technology Partnership
Opponents:  -
FMC’s Take: One of the best things about copyright is that it is intended to offers the same rights and protections to all citizens making creative work. Thus, it makes sense to treat all married couples the same. We agree with SAG-AFTRA Chief Deputy General Counsel Jeffrey P. Bennett, that this is an “issue of fundamental fairness,” and this bill is a simple and clean solution to the problem.  But thanks to the Supreme Court, it’s now unnecessary!
More Information: Blog: New Bill Would Update Copyright Law To Recognize Marriage Equality
Status: Referred to Senate and House Judiciary Committee, but now essentially a moot point thanks to the Supreme Court.

 

 H.R. 196 / S. 40 - Online Competition & Consumer Choice Act of 2015

Introduced in House: 1/7/2015 by Doris O. Matsui (D-CA) and 6 cosponsors (full text)
Introduced in Senate: 1/7/2015 by Patrick Leahy and 4 cosponsors (D-VT(full text)
What it Does: This act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promulgate regulations that prohibit broadband providers from engaging in paid prioritization arrangements, and from giving preferential “fast lane” treatment to their own content or that of affilliates.
Supporters: American Library Association, Public Knowledge, Writers Guild
Opponents: Comcast, National Telecommunications & Communications Association
FMC’s Take: We were happy to see democratic leaders in Congress standing with thousands of musicians, independent labels and innovators in urging the FCC to stand up to powerful ISPs that want to undermine the Internet to the detriment of small business. We’ll be happier when the rest of Congress realizes what has become obvious to most Americans: an open, accessible Internet is the engine of a free market based in competition and innovation.

Instead of waiting for Congress, the FCC chose to classify broadband Internet as a telecommunications service to ensure that creative enterprise can flourish for generations to come. (read our press release)
More Information: FMC Archive on Net Neutrality
Status: Referred to the Senate and House Commerce Cmtes 1/9/2015


H.R. 4079/S. 2321 Songwriter Equity Act

Introduced in House: 2/252014 by Doug Collins, (R-GA) & Marsha Blackburn, (R-TN)(full text)
Introduced in Senate: 5/12/2014 by Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Corker (R-TN) (full text)
What it Does:

Currently, when setting or adjusting royalty rates for compositions (paid to publishers and songwriters), license fees paid for public performance of sound recordings (paid egarding the exclusive rights of sound recording copyright owners to remove a provision that prohibits license fees payable for the digital public performance of sound recordings (paid to performers and labels), can’t be taken into account. This bill would change that allow for sound recording payouts to be taken into account when setting rates for compositions. 

It would also change the way mechanical license royalty rates are calculated by Copyright Royalty Judges; they would be asked to try and figure out rates and terms that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and seller. Judges would look at comparable uses and circumstances under voluntary license agreements.

Supporters: National Music Publishers Association, The Recording Academy, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Songwriters’ Guild
Opponents: Digital Music Association, National Association of Broadcasters, Sirius XM
FMC’s Take: While we appreciate the aims of the bill and are encouraged to see some attention paid to the unique concerns of songwriters, we do have concerns about some provisions; we’re not sure that applying the “willing seller/willing buyer” standard is the only way for songwriters to obtain a fair rate. (read our press release)
More Information: Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Status: Died. Reintroduced in 2015.


H.R. 4772 Respecting Senior Performers as Essential Cultural Treasures (RESPECT) Act

Introduced in House: 5/12/2014 by George Holding (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI) and others.
What it Does: Requires digital music services (webcasters, satellite radio, Pandora, etc) that transmit sound recordings under the statutory license provided under federal copyright law to pay royalties for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, in the same manner as they pay for newer recordings. (Currently, sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are governed by state laws and are not subject to federal copyright protection that require music services to pay a performance royalty for transmitting such recordings.)
Supporters: Soundexchange, Recording Academy, RIAA
Opponents: Pandora, Sirius XM, Digital Media Association, National Association of Broadcasters
FMC’s Take: This bill is a step in the right direction that doesn’t go far enough. We absolutely agree with the bill’s sponsors that performers and copyright owners should be compensated for sound recordings made before 1972. But we think the best way to do that would be to give those recordings the full protection of federal copyright law, as the Copyright Office has recommended. Among other things, that would mean that senior artists could get the opportunity to reclaim their rights to those early recordings. (read our press release)
More Information: Blog: What’s the Deal with Pre-1972 Copyrights?
Blog: How to Fix Copyright for Older Artists
Blog: Do Major Labels Really Respect Older Artists?
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Filing: Testimony before House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property & The Internet
Status: Died.  Similar provisions included in Fair Play Fair Pay act, introduced in 2015.



H.R. 4588 Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act

Introduced in House: 5/07/2014 by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
What it Does: Currently, when cable companies or other multichannel video distributors (such as Dish Network) rebroadcast local TV channels, the cable company is required to get the consent of the TV station.  Usually this involves a negotiated payment.

This bill would amend the Communications Act of 1934 so that cable or other providers no longer need permission to rebroadcast local TV channels if the TV stations’s licensee is also the licensee of an AM or FM radio broadcast station that plays sound recordings without paying. As a result, broadcasters could lose out on any retransmission payments they currently collect, unless they agree to pay for any music that is played on their radio stations.
Supporters: Soundexchange, Recording Academy, RIAA
Opponents: National Association of Broadcasters
FMC’s Take: Many music fans are surprised to learn that due to a long-standing quirk in US Copyright law, musicians and rightsholders are not currently compensated when their music is played on AM/FM radio. Artists groups and rightsholders have been working to fix this for decades, but past legislation has been stymied by the lobbying power of the big broadcasters.

This bill seems less like a complete solution to the performance royalty issue than an attempt to highlight the hypocrisy inherent in broadcasters requiring that cable pay them for retransmitting TV content they created, while wanting to avoid paying musicians when transmitting their music. It’s a clever gesture at a time when the details of retransmission payments were also being debated, and we agree that NAB’s position is indefensible, but we also have some questions. Not all AM/FM stations are owned by companies that also own TV stations: is everyone else off the hook? A real solution to the performance rights issue would mean that all AM/FM stations would have to pay (making allowances, of course, for the tiny budgets of college & community radio.) We also have questions about the mechanisms of payment; we’d prefer to see this spelled out in ways that guarantee equitable, direct and transparent payment. Still, we see the bill as an important symbol of the growing consensus that musicians must be paid for their work.
More Information: Factsheet: Public Performance Right
Blog: New Bill to Pay Artists For AM/FM Play
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Status: Died



H.R. 3219 Free Market Royalty Act

Introduced in House: 9/30/2013 by Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC)
What it Does: Currently, cable, satellite, and Internet radio broadcasters all pay musicians and copyright owners when they play sound recordings, but AM/FM radio does not. This bill would amend federal copyright law to provide a public performance right for all audio transmissions of sound recordings, thereby requiring terrestrial AM/FM broadcast radio stations to pay royalties like everyone else.

It would also eliminate the statutory licensing system where broadcasters currently pay various rates that are set by Copyright Royalty Judges (CRJs), and instead require broadcasters to negotiate with Soundexchange, the nonprofit organization that collects and distributes royalties for digital broadcasters. Copyright owners could then negotiate directly with broadcasters if they want to opt out of certain rates or conditions.

CRJs would still be allowed to set statutory rates for non-commercial/educational radio stations. Interactive music services like Spotify or Beats Music wouldn’t be impacted.
Supporters: Soundexchange (partial support), Recording Academy, MusicFirst
Opponents: National Association of Broadcasters
FMC’s Take: In past debates over the performance rights issue, NAB has complained that the government should stay out of it and instead leave it up to the free market. This bill can be understood as a cheeky way of showing NAB and other non-interactive music services what a free market approach would really look like, abandonding a government-facilitated rate-setting process and forcing direct negotiation with Soundexchange for everyone. We applaud the bill’s call for clear and equitable creator splits as well as direct payment to performers. Like Soundexchange, we’re inclined to continue to support the statutory license for radio-style broadcasting as the fairest way to get artists paid and make licensing easy; this bill proposed scrapping the statutory license, but this may have been less intended as a realistic legislative fix, and more as a chess move.

As Mel Watt no longer serves in Congress after being appointed to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the bill no longer has a champion. But some of these provisions were included in the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015 (read our press release.)
More Information: Factsheet: Public Performance Right
Blog: Artists’ Pay For Radio Play: A View from the Green Room
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Status: Died.


H. Con. Res. 16/S. Con. Res. 6 Local Radio Freedom Act

Introduced in House: 2/28/2014 by Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX) (full text)
Introduced in Senate: 3/6/2014 by Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) (full text)
What it Does: Declares that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.

This is just a resolution, not a bill, so it’s not actually binding. 
Supporters: National Association of Broadcasters
Opponents: Future of Music Coalition, American Federation of Musicians, MusicFirst, SoundExchange, Center for Individual Freedom
FMC’s Take: This bill is primarily a vehicle for the broadcasting lobby to flex their muscles in support of the status quo, where artists generally aren’t paid when music is played on AM/FM Radio.  The premise is misleading in a number of ways. For one, how “local” are the commercial stations that the NAB represents, really? Increasingly, they are owned by one of just a few large broadcasting companies. And these companies pushing radio in a less local direction through consolidated ownership, which results in fewer local DJs and more homogenous playlists. So while LRFA purports to protect something local or “homegrown,” this isn’t really the case. The rest of the world compensates performers for radio airplay, and it’s time the US joined them.
More Information: Factsheet: Public Performance Right
Blog: Guess Who’s Behind the Local Radio Freedom Act?
Blog: The Quest For Royalties For the Use of Sound Recordings on AM/FM Radio: In Full Swing
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 1 6/10/2014
Copyright Hearing Recap: Music Licensing Pt. 2 6/25/2014
Status: Died; reintroduced in 2015. The bill was always unlikely to come up for a vote, as it was more of a symbolic gesture.

 

H.R. 4280 - National Jazz Preservation, Education, and Promulgation Act of 2014

Introduced in House: 3/21/2014 by John Conyers (D-MI(full text)
What it Does: Establishes a National Jazz Preservation Program, to be carried out by the Smithsonian Instiution to preserve knowledge and promote education about jazz. This program would include a number of historical preservation, curation & collection activities, educational outreach programs, and performance series, along with continued support for the Smithsonian’s annual Jazz Appreciation Month, in partnership with other federal agencies.
Supporters: Future of Music Coalition
Opponents:  
FMC’s Take: Jazz is an incredibly important part of our country’s cultural legacy, and although this bill may not get much traction in the current post-sequester spending environment, it certainly deserves congressional support.
More Information: Blog: Conyers introduces Bill to Preserve & Promote Jazz  4/2/2014
Status: Died.

 

H.R. 4880 / S. 2476 - Online Competition & Consumer Choice Act

Introduced in House: 6/17/2014 by Doris O. Matsui (D-CA), Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) (full text)
Introduced in Senate: 6/17/2014 by Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (full text)
What it Does: This act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promulgate regulations that prohibit broadband providers from engaging in paid prioritization arrangements, and from giving preferential “fast lane” treatment to their own content or that of affilliates.
Supporters: American Library Association, Public Knowledge, Writers Guild
Opponents: Comcast, National Telecommunications & Communications Association
FMC’s Take: We were happy to see democratic leaders in Congress standing with thousands of musicians, independent labels and innovators in urging the FCC to stand up to powerful ISPs that want to undermine the Internet to the detriment of small business. We’ll be happier when the rest of Congress realizes what has become obvious to most Americans: an open, accessible Internet is the engine of a free market based in competition and innovation.

Instead of waiting for Congress, the FCC can and should choose to classify broadband Internet as a telecommunications service to ensure that creative enterprise can flourish for generations to come. (read our press release)
More Information: FMC Archive on Net Neutrality
Status: Died, reintroduced in 2015.


H.R. 5617 - Copyright And Marriage Equality Act

Introduced in House: 9/18/2014 by Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ilena Ros-Lehtine (R-FL), and Jared Polis (D-CO)(full text)
What it Does: Currently, the widow or widower of a copyright holder is entitled to inheritance rights to their spouse’s copyrighted works. But because some states recognize marriages of same sex couples and others do not, certain surviving spouses may be denied this right based on the state they are living in. The Copyright and Marriage Equality Act amends the Copyright Act to clarify that married same-sex couples would be treated the same as opposite-sex couples with regards to inheritance of copyright, regardless of whether the state they live in recognizes same-sex marriage.
Supporters: Human Rights Campaign, Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG - AFTRA), Writers Guild of America, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Future of Music Coalition
Opponents:  -
FMC’s Take: One of the best things about copyright is that it is intended to offers the same rights and protections to all citizens making creative work. Thus, it makes sense to treat all married couples the same. We agree with SAG-AFTRA Chief Deputy General Counsel Jeffrey P. Bennett, that this is an “issue of fundamental fairness,” and this bill is a simple and clean solution to the problem.
More Information: Blog: New Bill Would Update Copyright Law To Recognize Marriage Equality
Status: Died, reintroduced in 2015 as H.R. 238