Federal Agency Prioritizes Performance Tax
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
November 11, 2

Maria Pallante, head of the United States Copyright Office, included support for a performance tax on broadcasters as one of her agency’s priorities for the next two years.  In her recently released report, “Priorities and Special Projects of the United States Copyright Office,” Ms. Pallante, who was appointed Register of Copyrights in June, indicated that her office will be encouraging Congress to establish a public performance right in sound recordings.  She noted with concern that “traditional broadcasters remain free to transmit public performances of sound recordings over the air without the permission of the copyright owners and without making any royalty payments.”

While performance tax legislation has not received attention in this Congress thus far, clearly the subject is not forgotten.  NRB will continue to vigorously oppose a performance fee for broadcasters.  Not only would this be an undue strain on already stretched budgets, but, among other problems, it rests on the flawed assumption that value for the airplay of recordings is only a one-way street to broadcasters.

• Read the U.S. Copyright Office priorities report.
• Read NRB President Frank Wright’s letter to Congress on Performance Tax efforts.

Washington Whispers
Honoring America’s Veterans

Following a private breakfast with veterans at the White House, President Barack Obama will celebrate Veterans Day by participating in Arlington National Cemetery’s annual Wreath-Laying Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  President Obama will then travel to San Diego where he will be courtside at the inaugural Carrier Classic between the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State University Spartans aboard the USS Carl Vinson.

On the occasion of Veterans Day, NRB would like to honor and thank those who have served and those who continue to stand for this nation in the military.  We are grateful for the soldiers and families who have sacrificed their time, energy, and lives in defense of the United States.  Thank you.

• See more about the USS Carl Vinson.

FCC Re-Examines Closed Captioning Waivers

The FCC recently decided to discontinue waivers for approximately 300 television stations that had been exempted from closed captioning requirements.  This group, many of which are religious broadcasters, had received waivers in line with a 2006 FCC decision on behalf of Anglers for Christ Ministries.  Advocates of the deaf community raised concerns with these broad waivers, and the FCC agreed to reverse the earlier exemptions.  Those stations affected have 90 days from the new order to re-apply for a waiver if they can show that providing closed captions would be economically burdensome.  NRB will be holding a conference call on December 1 for Christian broadcasters seeking help in navigating this FCC decision.

• Read the FCC Closed Captioning Order.

Challenge to Net Neutrality Halted in Senate

In a party-line vote, Senate Democrats blocked further consideration of a challenge to the controversial “net neutrality” rules adopted by the FCC in December 2010.  Led by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce Committee, Senate Republicans sought to pass a resolution of disapproval that would have repealed these rules, which they view as an overreach of government and stifling to American innovation.  The House of Representatives passed a similar resolution in April.

The FCC’s 3-2 partisan vote to pass net neutrality rules allowed the federal government to regulate the Internet for the first time in history. NRB is wary of these rules, as it desires Christian content to be accessible on the Internet unfettered by any government or corporate religious discrimination.

• See NRB’s Public Comments about the FCC Net Neutrality Order


The Inside Story: Key Government Issues for Christian Communicators
Washington Whispers
>> Honoring America’s Veterans
>> FCC Re-Examines Closed Captioning Waivers
>> Challenge to Net Neutrality Halted in Senate
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