Press Release Music Licensing

Public Knowledge Urges Reps. Nadler, Blackburn to Revamp Fair Play Fair Pay Act

April 13, 2015 ,

Today, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced music licensing legislation that contains several proposals, some of which encourage a more fair market and others that would undermine competition in the music industry. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act proposes: requiring AM/FM broadcasters to pay sound recording royalties; setting statutory licenses under a “willing buyer, willing seller” standard; and requiring certain services to pay for performing pre-1972 sound recordings, among other changes. Public Knowledge supports paying artists fairly for their work, but cannot support unbalanced legislation that does not promote competitive choices for listeners.

The following can be attributed to Jodie Griffin, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:

“Music licensing laws should benefit consumers and artists alike by encouraging competition among distributors, corporate rightsholders, and other intermediaries. Our music licensing system should create a level playing field by treating like uses alike, breaking down barriers to entering the market, and promoting fair and reasonable licensing practices. Some of the provisions of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act propose promising ideas for a more efficient, competitive market, while others are cause for concern.

“For example, Public Knowledge supports efforts ensuring artists are paid directly and extending the public performance right for sound recordings to AM/FM broadcasts. In contrast, we cannot support proposals that set royalty rates under an unworkable “willing buyer, willing seller” standard or that fail to give pre-1972 sound recordings federal copyright protection. We urge Congress to continue discussions with all stakeholders, including consumers, to reach balanced policy proposals that both pay artists fairly and give consumers competitive choices among music services.”