Lawmakers Circulate ''Dear Colleague'' Letter

Reps. Gene Green (D-TX), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter Thursday on Capitol Hill encouraging colleagues to join the growing bipartisan movement of lawmakers who oppose a label-led campaign to levy royalties on free local radio airplay.

"Just like every other industry, the recording industry is suffering both from the economic situation of this country, but also from the technological changes that have provided a-la-carte music service on iTunes, Amazon.com, and other online music services," the letter reads. "But rather than adapting to the new technologies, the recording industry is trying to bite the hand that feeds it by imposing a new tax on its biggest promotional tool, as if free radio were immune to the economic downturn."

The letter follows a recent Congressional Budget Office report, which states that the cost of royalties on local radio broadcasters for airplay could be "substantial."

Commenting on the "Dear Colleague" letter, NAB Executive VP Dennis Wharton said, "The CBO report and today's Dear Colleague letter raise fundamental questions about the record label money grab from local radio. Exactly how much money would radio stations be required to funnel to RIAA companies? How many radio jobs in America would be lost if a performance tax becomes law? How many charities supported by local radio stations would suffer?"


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