CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION AFFECTING BROADCASTERS
114th Congress (2015-2016)
(as of 7/13/2015)
in the Courtroom
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.
H.R. 917 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on
Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. S. 783 in
Senate Judiciary Committee.
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.
H.R. 94 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on
Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.
S. 780 in Senate Judiciary Committee.
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.
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.
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.
H.R. 1283 in House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on
Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet..
S. 662 in Senate Judiciary Committee.
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
In House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on
Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.
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.
House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on
Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.
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
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.
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
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.
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
In House Energy & Commerce Committee;
Subcommittee on Communication & Technology..
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
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
In Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation
1180: Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS)
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
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.