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White House Support for Performance Right
Administration Recommends Congress Act to Provide a Right

WASHINGTON—This morning the U.S Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) at the White House issued specific administration recommendations for legislative changes designed to increase enforcement of U.S. intellectual property in order to create jobs and grow the U.S. economy. Included in the recommendations the White House specifically recommends, “…that Congress create a right of public performance for sound recordings transmitted by over-the-air broadcast stations.” (Administration’s White Paper On Intellectual Property Enforcement Legislative Recommendations, March 2011. Page 17.)

In response to this announcement musicFIRST Coalition spokesperson Tom Matzzie made the following statement:

“The White House recommendation for a performance right is an important show of support for performers who have been waiting decades for fair pay for airplay. The members of the musicFIRST Coalition thank the administration for their support. A Performance Right for radio airplay is a non-partisan issue with support from the ideological Right, Left and Center. In fact, this administration’s statement follows support from the last several administrations from both parties. The administration support underscores how important a performance right is to U.S. jobs and economic growth.”

“Music is one of America’s most important cultural exports but, as the new administration white paper indicates, U.S. performers aren’t compensated when music is played on the radio overseas. That is because U.S. radio companies don’t pay a dime to performers. To fix the foreign royalty inequity we need to fix the U.S. royalty inequity. This is money left overseas rather than brought into the U.S. economy.”

“We appreciate the Administration’s support and look forward to the day when performers are fairly compensated.”

Among other recommendations the Administration specifically said in their white paper:

“…the Administration recommends a legislative change to provide a right of public performance that will improve international enforcement efforts.” (Page 3)

“Create a right of public performance for copyright owners for sound recordings transmitted by over-the-air broadcast stations which, in part, will allow copyright owners to obtain overseas royalties that are now denied to them.” (Page 3)

“Ensure Copyright Owners Are Entitled to Compensation When Radio Stations Play Their Works: Historically, in the U.S., there has been no right of public performance for sound recordings transmitted by over-the-air broadcast stations. The absence of such a right puts U.S. copyright owners at a disadvantage internationally. They are not permitted to collect overseas royalties because they are not granted rights in the U.S. The U.S. stands alone among industrialized nations in not recognizing a public performance right in sound recordings. The Administration recommends legislation giving sound recording owners that right.” (Page 17)

“Recommendation: The Administration recommends that Congress create a right of public performance for sound recordings transmitted by over-the-air broadcast stations.” (Page 17)

The musicFIRST Coalition represents musicians, recording artists, managers, music businesses, performance right advocates and our allies. The goal of musicFIRST is to ensure that struggling performers, local musicians, and well-known artists are compensated for their music when it is played both today and in the future.

Paul Porter

Industry Ears