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Support the Fair Play Fair Pay Act

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act Establishes Free Market Pay For All Music Creators And Creates Fair, Technology-Neutral Rules For Music Services

Ends Government Picking Winners and Losers:

The radio market today is distorted by illogical government subsidies and preferences. Internet and satellite radio offer better sound, dynamic new ways to find and share music, and far deeper more varied playlists – and they pay performers. Yet satellite radio benefits from an unfair government-mandated below market royalty rate for the music that it plays. Federal law props up AM/FM radio’s lack of innovation by exempting it entirely from paying artists for their performances. The AM/FM exemption and satellite below market rate should be replaced with true platform parity to end policies that amount to government-coerced takings from music creators.

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act Levels The Playing Field For All Radio Competitors:

Under this bill, all radio services would pay fair market value for all the music they use – leveling the playing field by bringing all radio under the same basic rules that have led Internet radio to such remarkable innovation and growth.

  • A Level Playing Field: AM/FM radio stations would pay performance royalties for all the music they air, under the same rate standard (“willing buyer, willing seller”) that governs Internet radio today. This would close the loophole that allows AM/FM stations to have a free ride on terrestrial radio on the backs of artists and record companies. This free ride is also being exploited by AM/FM radio in the digital space, giving it an unfair advantage over digital competitors.
  • Real Protection For Small, Local Stations: Local AM/FM stations with annual revenues below one million dollars would pay just $500 a year, covering all the music they can play for little more than a dollar a day. Public, college and other noncommercial stations would pay only $100 a year. Religious radio, talk radio and incidental uses of music would not pay any royalties at all. 
  • No Payment Required for Bars and Restaurants: Under current law, bars and restaurants are exempt from paying performance royalties to copyright owners and musicians (they do pay songwriters and publishers). This bill would not require any new payments by bars and restaurants. 
  • End the Satellite Giveaway: The bill would end satellite radio’s special, grandfathered, below market rate and apply the free market “willing buyer, willing seller” standard across the board. We also support moving the 115 license (mechanical right) to this standard.
  • Pro-Innovation: This bill will level the playing field between technologies and end the government’s practice of picking winners and losers by propping up obsolete services and powerful incumbents.

Paying For All Music Means Showing Respect For Classic Music:

Some digital services have a newly found, exploitative view that the law does not require them to pay for music recorded before February 15, 1972. Yet both digital and AM/FM radio have stations and formats dedicated exclusively to such music – they earn millions from these iconic records, but refuse to pay anything to the performers who created them, shortchanging creators and copyright owners well over $60 million a year for digital airplay alone. Three state courts have sweepingly dismissed the arguments advanced by digital services for not paying elderly artists and this bill sets down a clear marker in support of these rulings: that pre-72 recordings have value and their creators must be fairly compensated when they are used. 

Boosting The US Economy:

Alongside China, Iran, and North Korea, we are one of only a handful of countries that don’t pay performers when their music is played over AM/FM radio. Unfortunately, because we refuse to reciprocate, music creators in the United States are denied performance royalties for their international airplay. That is a loss for performers that is estimated to cost the United States economy $100 million or more a year.

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