Press Releases

Chairman Nadler, Senator Blackburn Lead Bipartisan Effort to Modernize Copyright Law and Empower Musicians

Washington, DC, November 21, 2019
Tags: Copyright

Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Ask Musicians for Music Act (AM-FM) to modernize existing copyright law for radio stations and musicians. Under the current patchwork copyright system, radio stations can use sound recordings over their airwaves while creators, who own a stake in sound recordings, receive no payment in return. The AM-FM Act would require all radio services to pay fair market value for the music they use, putting music owners and the creative community on the same level as other American workers. Musicians hail from all 50 states, not just music meccas like Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, or New York City.

“The United States is an outlier in the world for not requiring broadcast radio to pay artists when playing their music, while requiring satellite and internet radio to pay,” said Chairman Nadler. “This is unfair to both artists and music providers. I’m proud to sponsor the Ask Musician For Music Act of 2019 which would give artists and copyright owners the right to make a choice to allow AM/FM radio to use their work for free or to seek compensation for their work. The bill would also allow them to negotiate rates with broadcasters in exchange for permission for it to be aired. This is what music creators want and deserve.”

The AM-FM Act seeks to ensure fair compensation for music creators, end unfair practices harming the music market, and empower copyright owners with new consent rights while providing exceptions for small and noncommercial stations.

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us. We should encourage such thriving talent and ensure the music community is properly compensated for their work,” said Senator Blackburn. “The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio.”

“The AM-FM Act will give artists control over what is rightfully theirs, their music,” said Daryl P. Friedman, Chief Industry, Government, & Member Relations Officer, Recording Academy. “The legislation is about consent for use of content, a basic concept that the National Association of Broadcasters is seeking for its own television members. We thank Senator Blackburn and Representative Nadler for their leadership on this issue, and ask members of Congress who recognize the importance of intellectual property to join them and pass this legislation.”

“Music is essential to the radio business, but for far too long, AM/FM radio broadcasters have profited by using sound recordings without paying anything to their creators,” said Mitch Glazier, Chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America. “This bill puts the power of free markets to work to reverse that. Requiring terrestrial radio broadcasters to obtain permission to use music would allow creators to seek compensation for their work and remedy a longstanding inequity in copyright law. We are grateful to Chairman Nadler and Senator Blackburn for their leadership toward a fairer music economy for everyone.”

“The AM-FM Act ensures that the people who make the music have a protected property right in their own work by requiring broadcasters to get permission before they transmit recordings over the air,” said SoundExchange CEO Michael J. Huppe. “It sets the table for meaningful marketplace negotiations and ends the current market distortion in our laws that forces artists to subsidize the multi-billion-dollar FM radio broadcast industry. I applaud Senator Blackburn and Chairman Nadler for their continued commitment to ending this egregious inequity for American music creators.”

“Songwriters and music publishers support the AM-FM Act because music has value, and creators should be able to decide what is best with their intellectual property,” said National Music Publishers Association President & CEO David Israelite. “For too long broadcasters have benefitted from the lack of a sound recording performance right, as well as antiquated consent decrees that allow them to pay songwriters less than fair market value. We thank Senator Blackburn and Rep. Nadler for their leadership on this issue and for standing up for creators.”