US performance rights move cheers MPG8 July 2008
US/UK: The MPG has welcomed a new legislative development in the US, writes David Davies. The US House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property has passed H.R. 4789, The Performance Rights Act, which aims to create fair performance rights on US terrestrial radio for all music creators. According to Music Producers Guild board member Mick Glossop (pictured), the move could ultimately herald considerable benefits for UK performers and producers.
While the act has still a long way to go before it can pass into law, it continues to receive the energetic support of the musicFIRST Coalition, a group of leading music organisations working to ensure that musicians across the board are compensated for their music when it is played on terrestrial radio.
At present in the US, artists and sound recording copyright owners are not paid when their recordings are played on over-the-air radio, but do receive renumeration when their music is played on satellite or Internet radio. The only people to benefit from over-the-air broadcast are songwriters and publishers.
“We have made more progress in our effort to secure a fair performance right on radio in the last 12 months that was made in the last 80 years,” musicFIRST Coalition spokesperson Martin Machowsky tells PSN-e. “The music community is organised under the banner of the musicFIRST Coalition. Legislation has been introduced in Congress, hearings have been held, and the House intellectual property sub-committee has passed the Performance Rights Act.”
Machowsky does not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead, however. He says that the campaign “still has a way to go, and we are not resting on our laurels. AM and FM music radio stations earn $16 billion in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians who bring music to life and listeners’ ears to the radio dial. It is not fair. We are going to close the loophole in copyright law and create a performance right on radio that is fair to artists and musicians, and to local broadcasters.”
Mick Glossop is encouraged by the latest developments Stateside. “I would have thought that if the act is eventually passed and then enforced that payments would be due to performers, including producers, on records that are made outside the US as well. In which case, European producers and artists would benefit tremendously from that,” he tells PSN-e.
In other MPG-related news, Glossop notes that the organisation is currently planning a session to be held in September that will address practical issues – including health & safety and insurance liability – relating to private studios.
“A lot of producers and engineers are having to think about different ways of establishing financial agreements with artists. It’s a whole new area, so we will probably include that in the next session as well,” he says.
Look out for further details of this event on a future issue of PSN-e.