-- 50 state broadcast groups cite 'strong House opposition' to performance tax --

WASHINGTON, DC -- Representatives from 50 independent state broadcast associations wrote Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday, urging her to oppose any effort to bring H.R. 848 to the House floor for a vote. H.R. 848 is a bill backed by the Recording Industry Association of America, which would impose a new fee on radio stations that air music free to listeners. Fifty percent of the new fee would go directly to record label companies. Three of the four largest record label companies reside outside the United States.

The letter follows yesterday's announcement that a majority of U.S. House members now publicly oppose the record label-led effort to strap radio stations with new fees for airing music free to listeners.

"The Judiciary Committee is in the process of asking the GAO to study the impact of the bill on small, religious and minority-owned stations whose existence and future growth would be devastated under H.R. 848. Moving the bill before that study has been completed, made public and is evaluated would place the cart before the horse," the letter reads. "Please help ensure that radio remains a viable voice and that H.R. 848 is not sent to the House floor for a vote."

The entire letter can be read online in PDF format.

The Local Radio Freedom Act, unveiled at a February Capitol Hill event hosted by the Free Radio Alliance, was introduced by Reps. Gene Green (TX-29) and Mike Conaway (TX-11). In March, an identical resolution was introduced in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 14) by Sens. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and John Barrasso (WY).

"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings," reads The Local Radio Freedom Act.


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