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Official Press Statement in Opposition to HR848 by Councilmember Jarvis Johnson

Councilmember Jarvis Johnson, District B is expressing his support for minority radio stations and against House Bill HR 848, a bill that would negatively impact small and minority radio stations.

Dr. King once said, “In the end it is not the words of your enemy that you will remember most in life but rather it is the silence of your friends.” With this sentiment in mind I can not sit idly by and allow my voice to be silent. With an industry that has done so much for the African American Community, I must do all I can to tell my colleagues in the Unites States Congress the great importance behind African American radio stations. African American Radio Stations have been around since 1949. Mr. Jesse B Blayton Sr. started the first minority radio station in Atlanta, Georgia.

Minority and small radio stations play an intricate part in the lives of millions of constituents throughout the City of Houston and nationwide. In today’s times of economic uncertainty, these stations serve as not only an information center for millions; they also employ hundreds of people and help generate a base for entertainers everywhere.

The commentaries that they provide during their broadcast are ones that are always centered around the affect of current events on minority communities. They serve as a galvanizing center for minority communities nationwide and their affect is felt throughout the world. It is my sincere desire that all elected officials would protect the voice of these radio stations, by not just reviewing the words of this bill, but the effect of the Bill’s application would have on the minority community. The obligation of every elected official is to represent the people. Over past few weeks the people have spoken.

Performance Rights Act: To provide parity in radio performance rights under title 17, United States Code, and for other purposes.

Performance Rights Act – Amends federal copyright law to:
(1) grant performers of sound recordings equal rights to compensation from terrestrial broadcasters;
(2) establish a flat annual fee in lieu of payment of royalties for individual terrestrial broadcast stations with gross revenues of less than $1.25 million and for noncommercial, public broadcast stations;
(3) grant an exemption from royalty payments for broadcasts of religious services and for incidental uses of musical sound recordings; and
(4) grant terrestrial broadcast stations that make limited feature uses of sound recordings a per program license option. Prohibits taking into account license fees payable for public performance via digital audio transmission of sound recordings in any proceeding to set or adjust the license fees for the purpose of reducing or adversely affecting such license fees. (Current law prohibits taking those fees into account in such a proceeding without referencing the purpose.) Prohibits anything in this Act from adversely affecting the public performance rights or royalties payable to songwriters or copyright owners of musical works. Prohibits taking into account the rates established by the Copyright Royalty Judges in any proceeding to reduce or adversely affect the license fees payable for public performances by terrestrial broadcast stations. Requires that such license fees for the public performance of musical works be independent of license fees paid for the public performance of sound recordings. Revises provisions relating to proceeds from the licensing of transmissions.

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