The American Music Fairness Act (“AMFA”) has been re-introduced in the Senate for this Congress.  Sen. Padilla (D-CA) introduced the bill (S.253) earlier this month, along with Sens. Blackburn (R-TN), Tillis (R-NC), and Feinstein (D-CA).  The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee, on which every cosponsor serves.  Further, Sen. Tillis serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, which oversees copyright issues. 

AMFA would amend the Copyright Act to provide public performance rights for terrestrial transmissions of sound recordings.  Specifically, the bill would amend Section 106(6) of the Copyright Act, which provides copyright owners with the exclusive right to publicly perform sound recordings via “digital audio transmission,” by deleting the word “digital.”  AMFA also attempts to address some criticisms that faced similar predecessor bills.  For example, AMFA proposes flat fees for certain nonsubscription broadcast transmissions by public or smaller commercial stations, and provides that other fees would be set in rate-setting proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board.  Such rate-setting proceedings would take account of economic, competitive, and programming information, as well as whether transmissions substitute for or promote record sales, and whether they interfere with or enhance other revenue streams for sound recording owners. 

While last Congress the House Judiciary Committee approved this legislation by a voice vote, no companion legislation has been introduced in the House yet.  Notably, however, co-sponsors of that prior House bill included Rep. Issa (R-CA), who recently became the Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, as well as Rep. Nadler (D-NY), who is now Ranking Member of the full Committee.  With bipartisan support of members on the relevant Committees of jurisdiction, AMFA is potentially one of the few pieces of legislation that could move in a divided Congress.

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Photo of Phillip Hill Phillip Hill

Phillip Hill focuses on complex copyright matters with an emphasis on music, film/TV, video games, sports, theatre, and technology.

Phillip’s global practice includes all aspects of copyright and the DMCA, as well as trademark and right of publicity law, and encompasses the full…

Phillip Hill focuses on complex copyright matters with an emphasis on music, film/TV, video games, sports, theatre, and technology.

Phillip’s global practice includes all aspects of copyright and the DMCA, as well as trademark and right of publicity law, and encompasses the full spectrum of litigation, transactions, counseling, legislation, and regulation. He regularly represents clients in federal and state court, as well as before the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, Copyright Office, Patent & Trademark Office, and Trademark Trial & Appeal Board.

Through his work at the firm and prior industry and in-house experience, Phillip has developed a deep understanding of his clients’ industries. He also regularly advises on cutting-edge topics like generative artificial intelligence, the metaverse, and NFTs.

In addition to his full-time legal practice, Phillip serves as Chair of the ABA Music and Performing Arts Committee, frequently speaks on emerging trends, is active in educational efforts, and publishes regularly.

Photo of Nicholas Xenakis Nicholas Xenakis

Nick Xenakis draws on his Capitol Hill experience to provide regulatory and legislative advice to clients in a range of industries, including technology. He has particular expertise in matters involving the Judiciary Committees, such as intellectual property, antitrust, national security, immigration, and criminal…

Nick Xenakis draws on his Capitol Hill experience to provide regulatory and legislative advice to clients in a range of industries, including technology. He has particular expertise in matters involving the Judiciary Committees, such as intellectual property, antitrust, national security, immigration, and criminal justice.

Nick joined the firm’s Public Policy practice after serving most recently as Chief Counsel for Senator Dianne Feinstein (C-DA) and Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Human Rights and the Law Subcommittee, where he was responsible for managing the subcommittee and Senator Feinstein’s Judiciary staff. He also advised the Senator on all nominations, legislation, and oversight matters before the committee.

Previously, Nick was the General Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he managed committee staff and directed legislative and policy efforts on all issues in the Committee’s jurisdiction. He also participated in key judicial and Cabinet confirmations, including of an Attorney General and two Supreme Court Justices. Nick was also responsible for managing a broad range of committee equities in larger legislation, including appropriations, COVID-relief packages, and the National Defense Authorization Act.

Before his time on Capitol Hill, Nick served as an attorney with the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. There he represented indigent clients charged with misdemeanor, felony, and capital offenses in federal court throughout all stages of litigation, including trial and appeal. He also coordinated district-wide habeas litigation following the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States (invalidating the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act).