Free Market Royalty Act Rep Moves To Fed Finance Agency


Jerrold Nadler

Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), the ranking member of the Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property, has been confirmed as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and will assume his new post Jan. 6, according to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is next in line for Watt’s position on the intellectual property subcommittee according to procedure, if he wants the role.

Watt was known for the Free Market Royalty Act he co-sponsored, which would require radio stations to negotiate with musicians for the rights to play their songs. Currently, stations pay nothing to play songs, while cable, satellite and Internet radio services must pay royalties set by the Library of Congress’s Copyright Royalty Board. Opponents of the bill say radio provides musicians free advertising by playing the songs and that negotiations on song fees should happen in the free market.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) is currently co-sponsor of the bill, and following Watt’s departure, any member can take the lead with it or reintroduce it, according to a committee aide. Industry groups are reportedly voicing early support for Nadler, who is currently the ranking member on the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.


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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at

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