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knowledge and information about this entire area, and we appreciate it very much. Mr. Epperson.
Mr. EPPERSON. Mr. Berenson raised the question about—which I think I need to clarify just for the record. The church service on broadcast which is paid for by a sponsor, I think I can quite agree with him that that should be a fee paid on music like that. However, I disagree about the savings we get on the present per program license. Because on a per song basis, we're paying three to four times and as much as 10 times as much as—the all music stations pay for their music. So, that's grossly unfair. Thank you very much.
Chair MEYERS. I thank you very much. This hearing—I would like to keep the record open without objection for 10 days, and this hearing is concluded. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 12:40 p.m., the hearing was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
STATEMENT OF REP. JAN MEYERS (R-KS)
MAY 8, 1996
“Music Licensing and Small Business”
Today's hearing is our second in a series of hearings looking at
intellectual property issues of importance to small business. The issues
surrounding music licensing practices of the performing rights societies
(ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) has long been a major concern for small
businesses in the entertainment and retailing industries. The background
music that we all hear when we are out at a favorite restaurant, a local bar or a
retail store is something that many people don't really think that much about.
Today's hearing will change all that, because how music is licensed, who pays
for it, and how many times it is paid for is going to surprise many of us.
As many of you know, music licensing under the copyright laws and the
antitrust consent decrees in effect with respect to ASCAP and BMI are issues
that are within the legislative jurisdiction of the Committee on the Judiciary.
However, the Committee on Small Business has a rich tradition of holding
oversight hearings on issues of importance to small business. In fact, in 1957
(during the 85th Congress) a subcommittee of the Permanent Select Committee
on Small Business of the U.S. House of Representatives held five days of
investigative hearings on the practices of ASCAP. The record of those
hearings covered over 700 printed pages; and, as a result of those hearings,
Members of the Committee met in executive session with representatives of the
Department of Justice, who took the matters presented at the subcommittee
hearings under consideration in their continuing enforcement of the 1950
Consent Decree against ASCAP.
Today, this issue of music licensing remains critical to many small
businesses. For example, 92% of NFIB's members have demanded music
licensing reform legislation and are firmly behind H.R. 789, the Fairness in
Musical Licensing Act. This legislation was introduced by my colleague and
friend, Jim Sensenbrenner, and I am proud to be a cosponsor. I have asked
Mr. Sensenbrenner to join us on the Committee today and take part in our
Despite my own strong sentiments in favor of H.R. 789, today's panel of
witnesses were carefully selected in an effort to present a balanced view of the
competing interests in this area of music licensing.
Mr. Rule is a respected member of the antitrust bar and a partner with
the Washington, DC law firm of Covington & Burling. He is a former
Assistant Attorney General who was in charge of the Antitrust Division at the
Department of Justice during the final years of President Reagan's second
Mr. Barba is a hotelier from New Hampshire, and, I believe, a
constituent of Mr. Zeliff's.
Mr. Alger is a songwriter from Nashville and a member of ASCAP.
Mr. Epperson is Vice-Chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters
and is here with us today from North Carolina.
Mr. Berenson is with us today on behalf of BMI where he is the Senior
Vice President and General Counsel.
Mr. Tavenner is with us today from just up the road in Olney,
Maryland. He runs a restaurant named the Silo Inn and is appearing today on
behalf of the National Restaurant Association.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS
FULL COMMITTEE HEARING ON MUSIC LICENSING AND SMALL BUSINESS
Opening Statement of Glenn Poshard
Madame Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to address the issue of music licensing and its affect on our nation's small businesses.
The introduction of H.R. 789, The Fairness in Musical Licensing Act of 1995, at the beginning of the 104th Congress has opened a flood gate of concerns from a number of my constituents on both sides of this issue. In my district, I have small business owners claiming unfair practices by licensing agencies, while songwriters have come to me concerning their critical need to be fairly and appropriately compensated for their time and talent.
It is also my understanding that all the parties involved in this debate have been involved in serious negations for the past year in an attempt to resolve this matter without major changes to the current copyright laws. I ask that we look closely at this agreement and evaluate its merits.
Madame Chairman, I also wish to welcome our distinguished panel of speakers whom I am sure will inform and enlighten the members of our committee as to the concerns on both sides of this issue.