March 24, 2010: Reps. Susan Kosmas (D-FL) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) have added their names to those co-sponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act, a House resolution opposing performance royalties for broadcast radio. The resolution has long had the support of a House majority, while an identical Senate resolution has signed up 27 co-sponsors.
"Local radio broadcasters and our 239 million weekly listeners appreciate the growing Congressional opposition to RIAA's performance tax campaign," NAB EVP Dennis Wharton said. "We remain cautiously optimistic that Congress will ultimately reject RIAA's effort to enact this job-killing legislation, which would threaten the very future of a musician's greatest promotional vehicle: free, local radio."
The Local Radio Freedom Act reads, "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."
The non-binding resolution was introduced in 2009 ahead of the Performance Rights Act, which would for the first time force radio to pay performance royalties to music copyright owners. The PRA has been approved by the Judiciary Committees in the House and Senate -- House Judiciary Chair John Conyers (D-MI) and Senate Judiciary Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) were original co-sponsors of the respective bills -- but hasn't been set for a vote in either body.
The Local Radio Freedom Act is a non-binding resolution and its co-sponsors are not obligated to vote against the PRA if it should come to the House or Senate floor, but the growing support for the resolution may discourage PRA backers from moving ahead with a vote in the near term.