House Dems denounce airplay fee legislation

Group urges leaders to kill Performance Rights Act

Broadcasters are getting more support from Congress to kill legislation that would impose performance fees on music airplay. A group of 22 House Democrats sent a letter late Friday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional Democratic leaders, urging them not to bring the Performance Rights Act to the floor for a vote.

Although the bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, more than 246 House members on both sides of the aisle signed the Local Radio Freedom Act, a nonbinding resolution that denounces any new performance fee, tax, royalty or other charge on radio for music airplay. In the Senate, 23 members have signed the resolution.

In the letter, the 22 Democratic members cite concern that the there has been inadequate information about the impact of the legislation on local radio broadcasters and the local communities that depend on the stations for jobs, news, weather and emergency information.

"We are further concerned by the assertions that this bill will unfairly divert money from our local communities and direct those funds primarily to the large record labels," the 22 Democrats wrote.