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WSAB Congressional Bill/Issue
Tracking Report

CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION AFFECTING BROADCASTERS
114th Congress (2015-2016)
(as of 7/13/2015)

Cameras in the Courtroom
H.R. 94 / S. 780:  Cameras in the Courtroom Act.  These two identical bills would require the Supreme Court to permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court unless it decides by majority vote that allowing such coverage in a particular case would violate the due process rights of any of the parties involved.  STATUS:  H.R. 94 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.  S. 780 in Senate Judiciary Committee.

H.R. 917 / S. 783:  Sunshine in the Courtroom Act.  These two identical bills would authorize the presiding judge of a U.S. appellate court (including the Supreme Court) or U.S. district court to permit the photographing, electronic recording, broadcasting, or televising to the public of court proceedings over which that judge presides, except when such action would constitute a violation of the due process rights of any party.  Would direct: (1) a district court, upon the request of any witness in a trial proceeding other than a party, to order the face and voice of the witness to be disguised or otherwise obscured to render the witness unrecognizable for purposes of photographing, recording, broadcasting, or televising the witness; and (2) the presiding judge in a trial proceeding to inform each witness who is not a party of the right to make such request.  It would also authorize the Judicial Conference to promulgate mandatory guidelines with respect to the management and administration of photographing, recording, broadcasting, or televising described in this Act.  STATUS:  H.R. 917 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. S. 783 in Senate Judiciary Committee.

Communications Act
H.R. 279:  Limiting the Authority of the FCC Over Providers of Broadband Internet Access Service.
  Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to exclude from the definition of "common carrier" (regulated by the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] under the common carrier regulatory authority provided under title II of such Act) a provider of an information service or of advanced telecommunications capability when engaged in the provision of such service or capability.  Classifies broadband Internet access service as an "information service" under such Act (regulated by the FCC under title I of such Act using what is commonly referred to as a general "ancillary jurisdiction" to regulate only as may be necessary in the execution of its statutory functions).  STATUS:  In House Energy & Commerce Committee; Subcommittee on Communications & Technology.

Copyright
S. Con. Res. 4 / H. Con. Res 17:  Local Radio Freedom Act.  This resolution would state the intent of Congress that a music performance royalty should not be placed on over-the-air radio broadcasters.  STATUS: S. Con. Res. 4n Senate Finance Committee.  H. Con. Res. 17 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.

H.R. 1283 / S. 662:  Songwriter Equity Act.  These two identical bills would remove a provision in copyright law that prohibits license fees payable for the public performance of sound recordings by digital audio transmission from being taken into account in any administrative, judicial, or other governmental proceeding to set or adjust the royalties payable to copyright owners of musical works for the public performance of their works.  It would require Copyright Royalty Judges (CRJs) to establish rates and terms that most clearly represent the rates and terms that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and seller; would require CRJs to base their decision on marketplace, economic, and use information presented by the participants.  STATUS:  H.R. 1283 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet..  S. 662 in Senate Judiciary Committee.

H.R. 1733: The Fair Play Fair Pay Act.  This bill would enact include a performance tax and also includes Platform parity, which would mandate the same “willing buyer, willing seller” standard for setting broadcast, satellite and streaming royalties; The RESPECT Act, which would require payment of royalties for pre-1972 music on digital platforms; require that any royalties flowing from a direct licensing deal be split 50/50 between the record label and artist; a savings clause that protects against any artist royalty increases from driving down songwriter royalties; and, The AMP Act (which deals with publishing compensation).  STATUS:  In House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.

H.R. 1457:  The Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act.  This bill would amend federal copyright law to require a collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges to implement a policy providing for the acceptance of instructions (referred to as a "letter of direction") from a person who owns the exclusive right to publicly perform a sound recording by means of a digital audio transmission, or from a recording artist of a such a sound recording, to distribute a portion of royalty payments to a producer, mixer, or sound engineer who was part of the creative process behind the sound recording.  It would also require the collective to adopt special procedures for a producer, mixer, or sound engineer to receive a portion of royalties for recordings fixed before November 1, 1995, by certifying that a reasonable effort has been made to obtain a letter of direction from an artist who owns the right to receipts payable with respect to the sound recording.  STATUS:  In House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.

H.R. 1999:  Protecting the Rights of Musicians Act.  This bill would prohibit the FCC from requiring that a mobile device contain an FM tuner chip.  It also would prohibit a television station from receiving retransmission consent revenue if the licensee of the television station is also the licensee of a radio station that does not pay a radio music performance royalty.  STATUS:  In House Energy & Commerce Committee; Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Ownership
S. 1182:   JSA/SSA Ownership Attribution.  This bill would revise the rule adopted by the FCC phasing out Joint Sales Agreements and Shared Services Agreements by making them attributable for ownership limitation purposes by exempting any JSA or SSA that was in effect on the effective date of the FCC’s rule change.  STATUS:  In Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee.

Political Advertising
H. R. 430 / S. 229:  DISCLOSE Act. 
These two identical bills would require any communication transmitted through radio or television to include an individual or organizational disclosure statement, together with: (1) the Top Two Funders List of the persons providing the largest and second largest aggregate payments of $10,000 or more for a radio communication, and (2) the Top Five Funders List of the five persons providing the largest aggregate payments of $10,000 or more for a television communication.  STATUS:  H.R. 430 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Constitution & Civil Justice; also in House Ways & Means Committee; also in House Ways & Means Committee; also in House Administration Committee.  S. 229 in Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

H.R. 2125:  Keeping Our Campaigns Honest Act.  This bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to revise its sponsorship identification to provide that, in the case of broadcast matter or origination cablecasting matter that is political matter or matter involving the discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, the sponsorship identification announcement would include the names of significant donors to the sponsoring entity.  STATUS:  In House Energy & Commerce Committee; Subcommittee on Communication & Technology..

S. 1260: Sunshine in Sponsor Identification Act.  TThis bill would require the FCC to update and modernize its sponsorship identification rules, specifically to ensure that political broadcasts include disclosures containing more detailed information about the identity of the true sponsors of such broadcasts; and, to consider how best to require the disclosure of sponsorship identification information, including by requiring that more detailed sponsorship identification information be placed online or in another form more readily accessible to the public.  Status:  In Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee.

Miscellaneous
S. 1180: Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) Modernization Act.  This bill would set up an IPAWS advisory committee that would include broadcasters.  It also mandates FEMA to coordinate with state, local and tribal governments to assist in development of warning systems and sets requires exercises for training involving the National Incident Management System.  STATUS:  Passed the Senate.

H.R. 2583:  FCC Process Reform Act.  This bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to: (1) adopt rules concerning rulemaking comment and reply periods, public notices, petition dispositions, the specific language of proposed rules or amendments to be included in proposed rulemaking notices, and performance measures to be included in certain proposed rulemakings or orders that would create or substantially change a program activity; (2) seek public comments regarding a bipartisan majority of commissioners' authority to place items on an open meeting agenda, deadlines for the disposition of certain license applications, and whether to publish orders, decisions, reports, and actions within 30 days after adoption; and (3) initiate a new rulemaking proceeding every five years to continue consideration of procedural rule changes.  It would llow a bipartisan majority of commissioners to hold a nonpublic meeting under specified conditions if: (1) no votes or actions are taken, (2) an attorney from the FCC's Office of General Counsel is present, and (3) the meeting is disclosed subsequently within two business days.  STATUS:  Passed House Energy & Commerce Committee.


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