Joint Statement Of Artists’ Organizations On The Small Webcaster Amendments Act Of 2002

American Federation of Musicians

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

Artists Empowerment Coalition

Future of Music Coalition

Music Managers Forum

National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences

Recording Artists Coalition

On October 7, 2002, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Small Webcasters Amendments Act of 2002 – a bill designed to allow small commercial webcasters to pay discounted royalty rates when they broadcast copyrighted sound recordings on the Internet. The rates in the bill were negotiated by small webcasters and record labels. They will allow small webcasters to grow their businesses while still compensating artists – most of whom are themselves small businesses sorely in need of this new income stream – for the use of their creative work.

Unfortunately, passage of this legislation has been blocked in the Senate, apparently at the behest of large broadcasters and webcasters that do not wish the measure to reach the Senate floor. We urge the large businesses that have opposed this legislation to reconsider their opposition and allow small webcasters – and the artists who so badly need this long-overdue income – to benefit from the arrangements set forth in the Small Webcaster Amendments Act. And we urge the Senate to act positively to pass the bill in this Congress. In addition, non-commercial and community broadcasters and webcasters are critical outlets for both artists and music fans. They need solutions unique to their situations. We look forward to further discussions to ensure that special concerns of non-commercial outlets are dealt with in an appropriate manner. Passage of the Small Webcaster Amendments Act of 2002 paves the way for these conversations to take place, as this bill resolves a number of complicated issues related to commercial webcasters that must be resolved before the noncommercial issues can be fully addressed.