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Music Artists Around the Globe Unite to Defend Artists’ Rights

17 May 2017

The musicFIRST Coalition today applauded the endorsement of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act by the International Artists Organization for Music (IAO), a non-profit association advocating for the protection of artists’ intellectual property and the fair value of their work across the globe.

“Music is our universal language,” said musicFIRST Executive Director Chris Israel. “It transcends international borders and, as an export and import, carries tremendous value in the global marketplace.

We commend the IAO for backing the Fair Play Fair Pay Act and defending artists’ rights for fair compensation no matter where their music is heard.”

IAO’s declaration of support for the Fair Play Fair Pay Act was voted on by members from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Croatia, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

“Music artists from around the world depend on the songs they create to earn their livelihoods,” said IAO President Nacho García Vega. “This is problematic in the United States because music laws are so out of date that songs have different values depending on where they are played, and big radio corporations get to earn billions of dollars by playing artists’ songs without paying the artists a cent. We are proud that performers around the world stand with artists across the U.S. in calling for music creators to be paid fairly for their hard work – especially when others are making a profit from it.”

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act is legislation that was introduced in March by U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). This bipartisan bill corrects the unequal U.S. Copyright system for music by:

Establishing a performance right for AM/FM radio. While online platforms like Spotify, Pandora and Apple pay creators for their songs, the radio industry gets to play by a different set of rules, not paying performers at all. This system is simply unfair. When someone does work, they should be paid for it, especially when others are making a profit off of it.

Creating a terrestrial performance right will add much needed fairness to the system and ensure that featured and backup artists and musicians will receive royalties when their work is used by AM/FM radio.

Ending satellite radio’s below-market royalty standard. The legislation will level the playing field so that all types of radio pay the same fair market value for music.

Requiring royalties for pre-72 recordings. Along with terrestrial radio, some digital services have decided that the law does not require them to pay for music recorded before February 15, 1972 (when federal copyright protection begins). Three courts have already rejected this view, finding that radio still must pay for this music under state law. The bill would resolve this dispute once and for all by requiring all radio services to pay for pre-72 music.

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