S 2913: "Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008"; HR 5889: "Orphan Works Act of 2008"

These bills would limit remedies in copyright infringement cases involving works where the copyright owner could not be identified (orphan works), if certain requirements are met by the infringer, including that the infringer performed and documented a reasonably diligent search in good faith to locate and identify the copyright owner before using the work. Most notably, the bills would limit monetary remedies for past infringement to a reasonable royalty, and would permit the continued exploitation of derivative works that embody substantial additional authorship, upon payment of a reasonable royalty. The House bill would require users to file data related to their pre-use search with the Copyright Office; the Senate bill would not. The bills were moving but have stalled in the face of what have been seen as unrealistic conditions on the protections that were to be provided.

Both Bills Introduced: April 24, 2008

Last Action: Senate Judiciary Committee reported the bill favorably (without report) and the bill has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 738 on May 15, 2008; House subcommittee markup has been held and the bill was forwarded by the subcommittee to Judiciary Committee (Amended) by voice vote on May 8, 2008


S 2500: "Performance Rights Act"; HR 4789: "Performance Rights Act"

These bills would expand the sound recording performance copyright right (17 U.S.C. § 114) to include traditional analog and digital radio broadcasts as well as other performances by analog transmission, thus altering the longstanding relationship between the recording and radio industries. The bills are strongly supported by the recording industry and strongly opposed by the radio industry.

Both Bills Introduced: December 18, 2007

Last Action: Senate Hearing reportedly held on July 29, 2008 (although the hearing did not actually concern this bill). House Subcommittee markup held and forwarded to the Judiciary Committee (Amended).


S 256: The "Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2007" (the "Perform Act")

This bill would alter the statutory standards for the fees paid for the sound recording performance right (17 U.S.C. § 114) from "willing buyer/willing seller" for new services, and the traditional policy based standards for grandfathered services to "fair market value." It would also impose copy limitations on receiving devices and content protection obligations on transmitting services. The bill is opposed by most transmitting services and supported by the recording and music industries.

Introduced: July 11, 2007

Last Action: Hearing held July 29, 2008.


S 1353: "The Internet Radio Equality Act of 2007"; HR 2060: "The Internet Radio Equality Act"

These bills would nullify the decision of the Copyright Royalty Judges setting sound recording performance fees under 17 U.S.C. § 114 for webcasting, would substitute a lower fee and would change the "willing buyer/willing seller" fee standard to the traditional policy-based standard applicable to numerous other statutory licenses.

Introduced: Senate: May 10, 2007; House: April 26, 2007

Last Action: Senate Hearing held July 29, 2008; House referrals to Judiciary and Energy and Commerce Committees, April 26, 2007.