Blackburn’s bill aims to update copyright law for radio stations, musicians

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Nov. 21 proposed bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would require radio broadcasters to obtain permission to transmit sound recordings owned by another person and to negotiate fair payment for doing so, among other provisions.

“When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us,” said Sen. Blackburn. “We should encourage such thriving talent and ensure the music community is properly compensated for their work.”

Sen. Blackburn introduced the Ask Musicians For Music (AM-FM) Act of 2019, S. 2932, to modernize existing copyright law for radio stations and musicians by ensuring fair market compensation for music creators, ending unfair practices in the music market, and empowering copyright owners with new consent rights while also providing exceptions for small and noncommercial stations, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmaker’s office.

“The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio,” Sen. Blackburn said.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) also on Nov. 21 introduced the same-named companion bill, H.R. 5219, in his chamber of Congress.

“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,” said Rep. Nadler. “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.”

To date, the bill has garnered the support of the Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Music Publishers Association, and SoundExchange.