Legislation Introduced to Further Music Copyright Modernization | Citizens Against Government Waste

Legislation Introduced to Further Music Copyright Modernization

The WasteWatcher

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


When someone listens to music using satellite radio or streaming services, the music creators, performers, and owners are compensated for their work.  However, due to the anachronistic notion that playing music on terrestrial AM/FM radio stations was equivalent to paying creators so they could sell records, those stations still do not pay any money for music and other performances aired on their stations.

On November 21, 2019, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced the Ask Musicians for Music (AM/FM) Act of 2019.  This bi-partisan legislation would give creators of music and other programs broadcast by AM/FM radio stations control over their intellectual property by requiring the broadcaster to obtain permission before transmitting content owned by another person.  This is the same control provided on all other music listening platforms, but currently denied on terrestrial radio.

The legislation would allow artists who want to permit terrestrial radio stations to use their work for free to do so, but it also permits them to seek compensation for their work through negotiated rates with broadcasters in exchange for it to be aired.  The bill also protects small, public, college, and other non-commercial stations by restricting the maximum amount those entities would be required to pay to no more than $100 per year to the copyright owner seeking compensation.

Consumers today have more choices than ever in how, where, and when they listen to music, including radio, satellite radio, television, and mobile devices.  All music should be treated the same regardless of its source.  The AM/FM Act of 2019 will help modernize the music copyright system to provide this much-needed intellectual property equity.

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The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste