House Committee Passes Indecency Bill

NAB, RIAA fight proposed fine for 'individuals.'

Indecency legislation that would authorize $500,000 fines for broadcast licensees and performers, as well as license-revocation hearings for repeat violators, gained momentum in the House today (Feb. 8).

The fast-tracked bill easily passed the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 46-2 and will now go to the House floor for almost certain approval.

Meanwhile, a number of strange-bedfellow groups are working to warn lawmakers about the provision of the bill that would fine “individuals” at the same level -- or even higher -- as broadcast companies.

In a rare action, the National Assn. of Broadcasters and the RIAA find themselves on the same side of the issue, and are working to have the provision modified. They are joined in their opposition by the major artist and performer groups: the Recording Academy, the Recording Artists’ Coalition, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and the American Federation of Musicians. AFTRA represents not only radio and TV talent in collective bargaining agreements, but recording artists as well.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., re-introduced his Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, H.R. 310, on Jan. 25. Last year, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill, but it fell victim to a legislative logjam in the Senate.


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