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NAB: Upton Backs Radio Freedom Resolution

According to the National Association of Broadcasters, House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is one of the latest sign-ups to the Local Radio Freedom Act.

That is a resolution opposing a new performance "fee, tax, royalty or other charge" on broadcast radio musical performances.

NAB says there are now 162 sponsors of the resolution, meant to counter legislation proposing such a royalty payment/fee/tax and backed by record labels and artists.

NAB pointed earlier this week to the shout-outs for radio play some artists gave at the Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony April 19.

Last week, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) introduced a bill that would create a public performance right (what broadcasters call the tax or fee).

Currently, broadcasters pay a blanket license to music rights groups, but argue that airplay is a fair exchange, and valuable compensation, for individual performances.

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015 would also allow musicians and record labels to collect royalties on individual airplay on radio.

It also creates, or attempts to according to its sponsors, cross-platform parity for payments through a "willing seller, willing buyer" standard judges could use to arbitrate rates.

The bill also requires royalty payments for some pre-1972 recordings not currently recognized as getting compensation.

The National Association of Broadcasters is strongly opposed to the bill, and similar performance royalty legislation it has successfully fended off in the past.