On May 13, 2009, the House Judiciary Committee held a markup of H.R. 848, the Performance Rights Act. The bill, which was introduced on February 4, 2009, by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay royalties for performances of sound recordings. By a vote of 21 to 9, the Committee voted to send the Performance Rights Act to the full House for a vote, which has yet to occur.
During consideration of the bill, the Committee adopted a manager's amendment offered by Chairman Conyers, which made several important changes. Notably, the amendment provides for parity across platforms by having one rate setting proceeding at the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) for all services subject to the statutory license, including terrestrial radio, satellite, cable and webcasting. Rate-setting proceedings will occur every five years. The rates set by the CRB will be based on a percentage of gross revenue with flat rates for smaller stations. Particularly, commercial stations with annual gross revenues of less than $100,000 would pay a flat fee of $500 each year; those with annual gross revenues between $100,000 and $500,000 would pay $2,500 annually; and those earning between $500,000 and $1.25 million would pay $5,000 annually. Noncommercial educational stations (NCEs) with gross receipts of less than $100,000 would pay $500 each year, while NCE stations with receipts above this amount would pay $1,000 each year.