The Performance Rights Act

Sometime within the next week or so, there will be a new LOUIE LOUIE story from Associated Press, highlighting Jack Ely‘s testimony for the United States Senate. Jack is pushing for better laws so he could receive more compensation from his original 1963 recording with the Kingsmen. Here’s a quick summary of a new law that’s been proposed, courtesy of OpenCongress.org:

Performance Rights Act H.R. 848
To provide parity in radio performance rights under title 17, United States Code, and for other purposes.
current 111st session of congress Other Bill Titles (2 more)Hide Other Bill Titles

* Short: Performance Rights Act as introduced.
* Official: To provide parity in radio performance rights under title 17, United States Code, and for other purposes. as introduced.

2/4/2009–Introduced.
Performance Rights Act – Amends federal copyright law to:
(1) grant performers of sound recordings equal rights to compensation from terrestrial broadcasters;
(2) establish a flat annual fee in lieu of payment of royalties for individual terrestrial broadcast stations with gross revenues of less than $1.25 million and for noncommercial, public broadcast stations;
(3) grant an exemption from royalty payments for broadcasts of religious services and for incidental uses of musical sound recordings; and
(4) grant terrestrial broadcast stations that make limited feature uses of sound recordings a per program license option. Prohibits taking into account license fees payable for public performance via digital audio transmission of sound recordings in any proceeding to set or adjust the license fees for the purpose of reducing or adversely affecting such license fees. (Current law prohibits taking those fees into account in such a proceeding without referencing the purpose.) Prohibits anything in this Act from adversely affecting the public performance rights or royalties payable to songwriters or copyright owners of musical works. Prohibits taking into account the rates established by the Copyright Royalty Judges in any proceeding to reduce or adversely affect the license fees payable for public performances by terrestrial broadcast stations. Requires that such license fees for the public performance of musical works be independent of license fees paid for the public performance of sound recordings. Revises provisions relating to proceeds from the licensing of transmissions.

2 comments to The Performance Rights Act

  • Bruce (DooWopDJ)

    His ORIGINAL RECORDING??
    Song was written and recorded back in 1957 by Richard Berry. Richard recorded it with his vocal group the Pharaohs for Flip Records of Los Angeles.
    I doubt the Kingsmen paid Berry for the remake!

  • EP

    “Original” is a relative thing. Yes, Richard Berry absolutely did the original recording of LOUIE LOUIE by which inspired Rockin Robin & Wailers, Little Bill & Adventurers, and THEN …. The Kingsmen, as well as Paul Revere & Raiders. That being said, the original Kingsmen rendition of the song was quite “original.” Nobody else did the song this way, and it was a unique rendition, which ultimately inspired countless imitators. The key phrase in this posting is “his original 1963 recording with the Kingsmen.”

    Richard Berry did get paid decent BMI songwriter royalties as a direct result of the Kingsmen success. He was able to buy a car and take care of other things. What Richard Bery didn’t have was publishing rights on his own song, which is where the major money was, but that changed in 1985…

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