Copyright law legislation may affect music on the radio

Recording artists in New York and around the country often dream of the day that they hear their music being played on the radio. If they aren't paid royalties when that happens, some think that it can undermine the work that went into creating their songs. Lawmakers are currently considering legislation that may change that, but some are worried that the new copyright law may inadvertently have a negative effect on artists.

The new legislation is called the Ask Musicians for Music Act, or AM-FM. It proposes that radio stations must pay royalties in order to play the sound recordings of music artists. The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, says that other countries around the world pay musicians for the use of their music on the radio, and that here in the United States, royalties are paid by satellite and internet radio. The bill gives whoever owns the copyright for the music the option of allowing broadcast radio to play their music for free or the ability to negotiate a rate for playing the music.

Not everyone approves of this potential legislation. The National Association of Broadcasters is concerned that radio stations in smaller towns may be unable to pay these royalties and that newer, unknown artists may not get needed publicity because of that. However, there are other organizations that support it, including the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Music Publishers Association and SoundExchange. They all believe that songwriters and singers deserve to be paid for their artistic contributions.

Though it is uncertain what the outcome of this proposed legislation will be, it highlights a very important fact. Artists, in this case musicians but also artists of any medium, should profit from their intellectual property. Those here in New York who are concerned about protecting their artistic works may want to consult an attorney with extensive experience in handling copyright law cases.

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