More than 6,000 international artists who want U.S. copyright law changed delivered a petition today to Congress. They want prompt enactment of legislation to grant artists, musicians and record labels in the United States a right to be compensated when their recordings are played over terrestrial radio stations.

Copies of the petition were delivered to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., who, along with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., introduced the Performance Rights Act of 2007 in the House and the Senate (H.R. 4789 and S. 2500) earlier this year. Copies were also delivered to members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

Artists from Australia, Austria, Argentina, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom signed the petition.

"It is encouraging that so many performers from across the world have taken the time to voice their support for their American friends and colleagues," says John Smith, president of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM). "Many of the musicians represented within FIM globally depend on airplay royalties for a significant part of their livelihoods. They deserve a fair deal from commercial radio in the U.S. In FIM's view, it is unfair that the U.S. is the only western free market country that does not grant a broadcasting right so that performers can get paid a fair share of airplay royalties."

Under current copyright law, terrestrial broadcasters have an exemption from paying royalties to play recordings even though they pay publishers and songwriters to play the recorded compositions. Digital services -- satellite radio, cable music channels and Internet webcasters -- must pay to play the recordings and the compositions. The United States is the only member country of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that currently does not grant artists, musicians and labels a performance right for non-digital transmissions.

"This extraordinary and impressive array of artists is a testament to the inequity of current U.S. laws and the commitment of performers to finally closing this outrageous loophole," says Doyle Bartlett, executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition. "These petitions will help make the case to Congress that the disparity in treatment of U.S. artists as compared to virtually every other nation in the world is shameful and deserves to be reformed immediately."

The signature drive was led overseas by the U.K. rights society PPL and the IFPI.

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