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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

Royalties on the Radio

Radio is a pretty common part of our everyday lives.  Even if you don’t go out of you way to listen to it you are likely to catch a bit here and there in stores and restaurants.  Radio gives us news, humor, and music.  Traditionally, they don’t pay artists and record labels for that music.  Two years ago, the Performance Rights Act of 2007 was introduced in Congress.  Its goal is to make sure that artists and labels get royalties when their songs are played on the radio.  About the same time, various artists formed a group called musicFIRST to promote the bill.  Radio stations, understandably, are not in favor of the bill.  It is estimated that approximately one third of minority owned stations would be driven out of business.  Stations have refused to run advertisements put together by musicFIRST, and some are even refusing to play songs by artists associated with the coalition.  Both sides are claiming that their First Amendment rights are in question—the artists to be heard, and the broadcasters to control their own radio stations.  The artists are currently asking the FCC to step in.  What do you think?  Radio stations argue that they provide much needed exposure for artists, and may not be able to manage the extra costs.  On the other hand, artists point out that they should receive compensation for their work. For more information, take a look at the recent article.

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