USA Radio Royalties and Mandatory FM Radio in Phones

Michael Watterson's picture

The USA has long history of conflict with the rest of the World over Intellictual Property. It's not just really stupid patents that should never have been granted or the widespread "piracy" of European books in the past by republishing in USA without paying royalty and also gratuitious changes to text. In English speaking countries out side USA, the "American" spelling and grammer is not changed.

There is a big problem with music royalties on Radio, despite the RIAA and DMCA.<
The parties calculated that the “business exemption” had nullified 1,219,900 Euro per year.

The United States treatment of mechanical royalties is in sharp contrast to international practice.<
In the United States, while the right to use copyrighted music for making records for public distribution (for private use) is an exclusive right of the composer, the Copyright Act provides that once the music is so recorded, anyone else can record the composition/song without a negotiated license but on the payment of the statutory compulsory royalty. Thus, its use by different artists could lead to several separately-owned copyrighted 'sound recordings'.<

In the United States, royalties for public performances are paid to songwriters, composers and publishers. But what about the person who performs the song?
Consider this. When you hear John Coltrane’s recording of ‘My Favorite Things’ on the radio in the US, the estates of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein — the composers of ‘My Favorite Things’ — are compensated through ASCAP. But the estate of John Coltrane receives nothing for this performance.

However, if you hear the same performance on Sirius XM, or via a webcast, or on a cable music station — even on that terrestrial radio station’s webcast — both Rodgers and Hammerstein’s estates AND John Coltrane’s estate are compensated.

Why the difference? US terrestrial broadcasters are exempt from paying a public performance right for sound recordings.

Exemption in US Leaves Artists’ Money on the Table

The US is one of the few industrialized countries that does not have a terrestrial broadcast performance right for sound recordings. At least 75 nations, including most European Union member states, do have a performance right. This means that foreign broadcasters flow royalties to songwriters/composers and performers. But since there is no reciprocal right in the US, foreign performance rights societies cannot distribute these royalties to American performers. This leaves tens of millions of dollars of royalties on the table annually rather than in the pockets of American artists.<

Newspaper publishers didn't ask the U.S. Congress to put news-reading apps on mobile phones. Walkie-talkie and CB radio makers haven't pushed Apple or Nokia for radio frequency compatibility.

But radio broadcasters are a bit more politically ambitious. Claiming public safety benefits, the National Association of Broadcasters is proposing a new federal law that would force manufacturers to implant FM tuners in all mobile phones.

This FM tuner proposal may seem to have popped, Aphrodite-like, out of the ether. But in reality, it's been simmering for a while as part of a long-running discussion of radio royalties. One possibility: if NAB agrees to pay about $100 million a year to musicians and their managers in exchange for an FM tuner, then all that needs to happen is for Congress to order device makers to go along.

See also<

Will Mandatory FM Radio in Mobile Phones mean not just issue of Streaming vs Broadcast Radio Royalties in USA sorted out, but all Royalty issues Between USA and Europe on Radio Performance Royalties?

I don't know Smile


Ars Technica<

Reports on NAB commissioned< survey


"Today's survey results demonstrate convincingly that there is
significant demand for radio-capable cell phones in the United States,"
said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton.
"Unfortunately, most U.S. mobile phone users have been denied
over-the-air access to their favorite free and local stations. With much
of the U.S. cell phone market built upon exclusive contracts between
carriers and manufacturers, most consumers are left paying for fee-based
data-intensive streaming apps with no free, broadcast alternative."