The 111th Congress convened with some changes for the American Copyright Community. The House Judiciary Committee reorganized and the “Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property” was abolished. That coupled with the priorities of a new administration, means that there may not be great Congressional focus on copyright issues for a while. Here are some of NSAI's legislative priorities:
Performance in an Audiovisual Download – We join the American performing rights societies: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in wanting to ensure that composers and songwriters are appropriately paid for their musical creations in television shows, film and other media that are downloaded to devices. They will ask Congress to clarify that a public performing right exists in musical compositions that accompany digital transmissions of copyrighted audiovisual works.
Sound Recording Performance Royalty – This legislation would create a royalty to be paid by American broadcasters to artists, record labels and background musicians. This royalty is paid in most other countries. NSAI supports the legislation. The organization’s support came after language was included in the bill to protect existing songwriters royalties.
Anti-Piracy – While some advancements have been made in both the marketplace and Congress on this front, NSAI is supporting even stronger enforcements. One priority is funding for new government-enforcement provisions. Another is to continue working with the Internet service providers to enact stronger anti-piracy enforcements.
Copyright Royalty Board — NSAI was one of the industry participants in the lengthy CRB proceedings over mechanical royalty rates, ringtones and subscription music royalties that wound through 2008 into 2009. Songwriters and music publishers will be paid a rate of 9.1 cents for digital downloads. The CRB judges also ruled that the rate for physical products will remain at 9.1 cents. Each will be subject to an overtime rate. The CRB judges also established for the first time a rate of 24 cents for each ringtone subject to the Section 115 mechanical license. Furthermore, music publishers will have the right to seek a 1.5 percent late fee, calculated monthly. This marks the first time the Board has established mechanical royalty rates for songs distributed digitally. The Board also adopted the terms of an historic industry settlement on rates for two other types of services – interactive streaming (such as some Napster services) and limited downloads (such as Rhapsody To Go). Details of that agreement between NMPA, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA). The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Digital Media Association (DIMA) were announced last week. (10.5 % of subscription revenue as a royalty)
NSAI President Steve Bogard said, “The Nashville Songwriters Association International (with the California and Texas Songwriters Associations) is pleased that the Copyright Royalty Board has chosen to recognize the personal investment and contribution of songwriters to the American music industry. The United States, the source of so much of the world’s great popular music must lead the way in compensating creators for their work and making it possible for our publishing partners to continue to invest in the nurturing and development of great young songwriting talent. NSAI believes that in the long run this decision is in the very best interests of consumers, digital media content providers, and the entire music industry.”
Copyright Infringement Group Insurance – NSAI, working with Frost Insurance, has created the industry’s first GROUP Copyright Infringement Insurance policy for songwriters and music publishers. The policy offers unprecedented coverage limits and premiums.