Artists' unions and other groups were able to get language into the Committee report accomanying the House-passed indecency bill that provides further safeguards against liability for broadcast indece

Artists' unions and other groups were able to get language into the Committee report accomanying the House-passed indecency bill that provides further safeguards against liability for broadcast indecency, it has emerged.

Lobbyists for the Recording Academy, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and the Recording Artists' Coalition convinced lawmakers to add language in the "general guidelines" report that explicitly exempts individual artists from liability for indecent material on a sound recording that is later played on the airwaves. Actors involved in a scripted program would also be exempted, as would individuals such as coaches or excited performers for "reflexive, unintentional" indecent utterances.

The bill, passed by the House yesterday (Feb. 16), was amended to create fairer standards for fines against performers. The change was offered by bill sponsors Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., after artists' groups complained that the legislation would fine "individuals" at the same level -- or even higher -- as broadcast companies. Among the other changes, the amendment would allow the FCC to fine performers who "willingly" and "intentionally" utter indecent or profane language, and to take into account the "financial impact" on a performer who is slapped with a fine.