October 16, 2009

U.S. Senate Committee Approves Performance Rights Act

"Today we are one step closer to righting a wrong that has existed since the early days of radio"

From Brent Lang The Wrap

Advocates for recording artists and companies hailed the Senate Judiciary Committee approval of the Performance Rights Act on Thursday.

The bill is designed to close a loophole in copyright law that prevents artists, musicians and rights holders from seeking royalties for their music from radio companies that play their music on the air.

A similar bill was approved earlier by the House Judiciary Committee.

“Today we are one step closer to righting a wrong that has existed since the early days of radio; one step closer to winning the fight for fundamental justice that has been waged by countless artists and musicians over the last 80 years,” said Jennifer Bendall, executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition, an organization formed to pressure broadcasters to pay radio airplay royalties to record companies.

“We are making unprecedented progress," she added. "Two congressional committees have now approved a bill to create a fair performance right on radio. We ask broadcasters and the new leadership at the NAB to join with us."

The National Association of Broadcasters has fought fiercely against efforts to impose royalty payments.

"A performance tax is bad for free, local radio. It's bad for radio's 235 million weekly listeners. And it's bad for the legions of new and legacy artists whose careers were launched and nurtured by free radio airplay," NAB executive VP Dennis Wharton said in a previous statement on his organization's opposition to the legislation.

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