Category Archives: Performance Rights

New Copyright Proposal Addresses Performance Rights

According to the BNA, Rep. Melvin L. Watt (D-NC) introduced the Free Market Royalty Act (H.R. 3219) on September 30, 2013.  See “Rep. Melvin Watt Introduces Bill to Create Performance Right for Recording Artists,” BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal – Daily Update, No. 191 (Oct. 2, 2013).  Rep. Watt stated that this bill provides “a ‘performance right’ that will obligate AM/FM radio stations to compensate performers for the use of their music just as cable, satellite and internet radio are obligated to do.”  Press Release, “Congressman Watt’s Statement on the Introduction of H.R. 3219, the Free Market Royalty Act,” October 1, 2013.  (Note that the index of Rep. Watt’s press releases indicates that this was issued on October 1.  The release itself shows no date.  Congress.gov indicates it was introduced on September 30, and has already been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.)

Rep. Watt explains that under current law, when an AM or FM station plays a song, the composer and the publisher both receive royalties and the performer does not.  Press Release.  This bill proposes to level that playing field, and put compensation for music broadcasting on par with international counterparts.  Id.
As of this writing, there are no co-sponsors to the bill.  The text of the bill has not been received by the Library of Congress to post on its website, which states instead:

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