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In a move that seemingly adds fuel to those supporting the creation of a public performance right, Reps. Darrell E. Issa (R-Calif.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) introduced a concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 42) April 14 opposing the requirement that broadcast tuners be included in manufacture of wireless devices.
Protect all Americans who create intellectual property and foster an economic environment that encourages American performers, creators, and innovators to take the artistic risks necessary in their careers to make quality work and spur the economy; and
Oppose any mandate for the inclusion of terrestrial broadcast radio tuners in the manufacture or sale of mobile devices.
Currently, AM and FM radio stations can broadcast any recorded music by paying royalties to the composer of a song, but not to the recording artist who made the record. Other media, such as satellite and internet radio, do not enjoy such an exemption. This “inequality … disadvantages these multimedia platforms and propagates the continued uncompensated use of performers' art through terrestrial broadcast,” according to a press statement released the day after the introduction of the resolution.
“The marketplace fosters product refinement and elevates technology and talent,” Issa said in the statement. “Congress' imposition of needless technology mandates on the wireless market would hurt consumers by creating tremendous harm to the innovation and creativity that continues to spring forward from this country.”
“Consumers deserve to enjoy the technology that's most appropriate to them,” Eshoo said in the statement. “The Creativity and Innovation Resolution simply says the government will not mandate specific technology that limits the way consumers listen to local news, information, and music.”
An effort to give recording artists a royalty when their works are performed on traditional AM and FM broadcast programming was at the forefront of performance rights legislation that failed in the last Congress (81 PTCJ 384, 1/28/11). In August, parties on both sides of the controversy began circulating a proposal for a compromise measure that, among other things, would mandate that cell phones be equipped to receive and play FM radio signals (80 PTCJ 566, 8/27/10). Mobile phone manufacturers voice immediate objection, but broadcaster support for the performance rights legislation hinged on that portion of the compromise (80 PTCJ 839, 10/29/10).
Gig B. Sohn, president of public interest group Public Knowledge, said in a press statement on April 15, “We are pleased the support Reps. Issa and Eschoo on their resolution. Public Knowledge has long opposed the type of tech mandates like the requirement that broadcast tuners be included in wireless devices.”
“If manufacturers wish to include tuners, they are free to do so,” Sohn said. “There is no reason for them to be forced to do so.”
The resolution has been submitted to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
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