Available statutory (i.e., "compulsory") licensing with rates set by the Copyright Royalty Judges, who also currently set rates for online digital public performances of sound recordings, among other things.
Exemptions for nonsubscription transmissions of services at places of worship or other religious assembly, as well as "incidental" use of sound recordings.
An annual $1,000 blanket statutory license for noncommercial (i.e., public, educational, or religious) radio stations.
An annual $5,000 blanket statutory license for commercial radio stations that generate less than $1.25 million in annual revenue (which the bills' sponsors believe will cover over 75% of the commercial radio stations in the U.S.).
Available "per program" statutory license rates for broadcast radio stations that make "limited feature uses" of sound recordings.
Provisions to ensure that songwriters and composers continue to receive fair compensation for public performances of their works despite the increased costs to broadcasters associated with paying performers.
Retention of a distinction between musical works and sound recordings such that venues that play recorded music (such as clubs and bars) would continue to pay songwriters but not performers.
Provisions requiring 50% of the royalties paid through statutory licensing of sound recordings to go to "featured" performers and "non-featured" musicians and vocalists rather than solely to copyright owners of the sound recordings. (The House bill would also require 50% of royalties earned through voluntary licensing of sound recordings for public performances on broadcast radio to be paid to "featured" performers and "non-featured" musicians and vocalists, whereas the Senate bill would not.)The bills face some opposition, especially from radio broadcasters. The National Association of Broadcasters ("NAB"), an opponent of the bills, maintains that requiring radio stations to compensate performers "will harm your local radio stations [and] threaten new artists trying to break into the business." NAB also claims that the bills will undo the promotional "symbiotic relationship" that currently exists between radio stations, record labels, and performers. In the last Congress, such arguments inspired 227 members of the House of Representatives and 14 Senators to support Congressional resolutions (H. Con. Res. 244 and S. Con. Res. 82) opposing radio royalties for performers. However, organizations that speak for musicians contend that the promotional value of free radio play does not justify the absence of protection for sound recordings. For example, Ann Chaitovitz, the Executive Director of Future of Music Coalition, has argued that "the promotional claim is irrelevant. Authors often see sales spikes when their books are made into movies, but no one would suggest that the writer shouldn't be paid when their work is translated to the screen because the film is 'promotional'."