Is ‘Fair Pay’ Really A ‘Public Policy No-Brainer’?

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A bipartisan coalition of federal legislators recently introduced H.R. 1836, a copyright-related bill titled the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2017.” If enacted, it would require owners of commercially licensed broadcast radio stations that play recorded music to either pay a government-set fee to their copyright owners or obtain their permission to waive payment of that fee.


The subject has unleashed a fierce debate among radio industry leaders — namely those with medium- to small-sized broadcast companies — who are against any additional rights fees.

But, is there a “fair pay/play” problem? Thomas Sydnor, a Visiting Fellow with AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy, thinks so. In this column, Sydnor believes such legislation is in the “legal, national, and economic interests of the U.S.”



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