Collection societies from 24 countries appear to have made ground in their calls for the president of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca, to repeal a proposed law that would prevent artists and producers getting paid public performance revenue from recordings in the country.

The new law, Legislative Decree 870, was initially approved on April 30 this year and introduced several new provisions that collection societies claimed would have significantly hindered rights holders - recording artists, musicians and record labels - from collecting revenue generated from music recordings broadcast in El Salvador, as well as those used in public venues.

An appeal to president Saca was lodged at an IFPI Performance Rights Committee meeting, which took place in Toronto, Canada, May 14-15. Collection societies who endorsed the appeal included PPL (U.K.), NRCC (Canada), AVLA (Canada) SIMIM (Belgium), SCF (Italy), PPCA (Australia), GVL (Germany) as well as IFPI Latin America. A public protest also took place outside president Saca's office in El Salvador's capital city San Salvador following the approval of Legislative Decree 870, which was attended by local artists, record labels and collection societies. In addition, an open letter was published in national newspapers urging president Saca to use his power of veto and reject the controversial law.

In response to increasing industry and international pressure, it was announced on May 18 that the president had sent the decree "back to congress with observations." The nature and contents of Saca's observations are not yet known. Congress will now re-evaluate the decree and decide how to progress, with the option to pass Legislative Decree 870 to a special commission for review.

Prior to taking office, Saca came to national prominence as a TV and radio sports presenter and founder of Group SAMIX, a company that currently owns six radio stations across the country. Following his defeat in March's presidential elections, Saca leaves office on June 1 to be replaced by Mauricio Funes of the left-wing FMLN party (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front). Once out of office, Saca is widely expected to resume work in the broadcasting sector. Local music industry figures say that Legislative Decree 870 could directly benefit Saca's business interests.

Commenting on Legislative Decree 870, IFPI chairman and CEO John Kennedy said in a statement: "Collection societies are agencies that have the important but difficult job of making sure musicians, performers and producers get properly rewarded when their music is used by radio and TV stations and public venues.

"The new proposed law in El Salvador would substantially undermine the rights and livelihoods of those groups, while allowing the companies using their music to profit at the creators' expense. This sets a very worrying precedent internationally. This conference respectfully asks the president to take action to reconsider this law, restore fairness to rights owners and bring El Salvador into line with normal international standards."

No date has been set for final decision concerning Legislative Decree 870 although local music industry insiders predict that it will be swiftly rejected once Mauricio Funes takes office.