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
Today, the American Music Fairness Act (“AMFA”) will take a step forward as the bill is set for mark up with the House Judiciary Committee. The Copyright Act provides exclusive rights to publicly perform sound recordings by means of digital audio transmissions (e.g., internet and satellite), and AMFA is the latest attempt to extend such rights to analog audio transmissions (e.g., terrestrial radio).
Marking up the bill at this late stage of the Congressional term may mean the bill is tacked on to end-of-year spending packages (as with the CASE Act in 2020), or more likely that it will be taken up again next Congress. With bipartisan and bicameral support of members on the relevant Committees of jurisdiction, AMFA could still move in a divided Congress, making it all the more important for stakeholders to engage now if they want to support or make changes to the bill.
The AMFA Bill
The bipartisan AMFA bill was first introduced in the House on June 24, 2021 (H.R.4130), and its companion Senate bill followed on September 22, 2022 (S.4932). Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) recently became the House bill’s primary sponsor after its original sponsor Rep. Ted Deutch (D-CA) left Congress.
The bill would amend Section 106(6) of the Copyright Act, which provides 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 low flat fees for certain nonsubscription broadcast transmissions by public or smaller commercial stations, and 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, and whether transmissions substitute for or promote record sales, and interfere with or enhance other revenue streams for sound recording owners. …