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MPG supports US Performance Rights Act

2 July 2008


The Music Producers Guild (UK) welcomes new suite of American intellectual property regulations.

The Music Producers Guild (UK) welcomes the decision by the US House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property to pass H.R. 4789, The Performance Rights Act, which aims to create fair performance rights on US terrestrial radio for all music creators.

The Performing Rights Act is being supported by the musicFirst Coalition, a group of leading music organizations that are determined to ensure that aspiring performers, local musicians and well-known artists are compensated for their music when it is played on terrestrial radio. The Coalition’s Fair Pay for Air Play initiative has already produced an advertising campaign to support the bill, which has bipartisan support, and recently presented Congress with a supporting petition signed by more than 6,000 artists in over 13 countries.

Doyle Bartlett, executive director, musicFIRST Coalition, says: "Subcommittee passage of H.R. 4789 is a major victory for America's artists and musicians and a major triumph for fundamental fairness. We applaud Representatives Berman and Issa and the members of the subcommittee for their hard work on this bill. With their leadership and support we have made significant progress toward creating a fair performance right on radio. But we still have a long way to go.”

Currently in the US, artists and sound recording copyright owners (usually a record label) are not paid when their recordings are played on over-the-air radio. However, they are paid when their recording is played on satellite or Internet radio. The only people who do benefit from having songs played on over-the-air radio are the songwriters and publishers because they are the owners of the “notes and words”.

“This legal loophole allows AM and FM music radio stations to earn $16 billion a year in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners' ears to the radio dial,” Bartlett adds. “It's not right, it's not fair and we are going to make sure it is changed. All other music platforms pay artists and musicians to use their music. It's only fair that terrestrial radio be held to the same standards.”

The backing of the subcommittee is seen as a major step forward in securing rights for all music creators. MPG is supporting The Performance Rights Act because, if passed, it will help all music producers to claim any royalties that they are entitled to under the terms of their contracts.

Bartlett adds: "This vote moves us one step closer to ensuring that all performers - from aspiring and local artists, to background singers and well-known stars - receive fair payment when their work is played on AM and FM radio. The subcommittee's action is a harbinger of things to come."

The musicFIRST coalition is supported by a wide range of organisations including the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM); American Federation of Musicians (AFM); American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA); Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA); Music Managers Forum - USA (MMF- USA); The Latin Recording Academy; The Recording Academy; The Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Inc and the Recording Artists' Coalition.

 

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