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RAIN 11/24: Conyers takes performance issues away from IP subcommittee

Posted on: 11/24/2008


House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-MI) (right) has announced that he will strip the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property of its oversight of intellectual property matters. Going forward, intellectual property concerns will be handled by the Committee itself.

This can be seen as a significant win for the record industry, Hollywood, and other owners of IP copyrights as friend-of-Internet radio and champion of individual rights Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) (more in BetaNews here) (left) was a viable candidate to assume the chairmanship of the Subcommittee. The seat was vacated by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), who’s headed to the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Radio and Records writes (here), “The implications of the change could be particularly significant for pending legislation that would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay performance royalties to artists and record labels. Conyers is an original co-sponsor of the Performance Rights Act, which no longer has to pass through the IP subcommittee before the full Judiciary Committee votes on it. Read more from MultichannelNews here.


Industry attorney (and “friend of the show”) David Oxenford reports (here) that before singing an original Christmas ditty at the opening of his Christmas television special Saturday, Stephen Colbert “explains the system of broadcast royalties in the United States, and the source of the dispute over the broadcast performance royalty that took up much committee time in the last Congress, and is bound to return in the next Congress in 2009.”

Colbert explains that he likes the traditional Christmas songs, but he’ll only earn royalties as the songwriter, but not if he performs other composers’ works, so he’s writes his own. As it stands, only services like Internet and satellite radio pay “sound recording” royalties to performers.

(We weren’t able to locate video of Colbert’s intro to his new Christmas song, but we hope you enjoy the song itself:)

If you have trouble with the video, try here.


“I hate to say it, but somebody has to: Satellite radio will come crashing down to Earth within the next two years,” writes Datamation columnist Mike Elgan. Even though Elgan admits satellite radio has made progress of late and his family has two Sirius or XM subscriptions, he predicts the service will be brought down by mp3-compatible cars and the shaky economy. “The ugly truth is that satellite is simply an obsolete way to deliver sound.” Read more at RBR here.

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  1. At a time when people are losing their jobs and houses, Stephen Colbert will only perform Christmas songs he has written for himself so he can make more money! As far as I’m concerned, these unionized entertainers and the corporations they work for are way overpaid—and it shows!

    ted chittenden · Nov 24, 03:40 PM · #

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