Senators reintroduced a bill today (Jan. 11) aimed at protecting copyrighted materials distributed by cable, satellite and Internet radio services.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) reintroduced the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music (PERFORM) Act, which was originally put forth by Feinstein, Graham and former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) last April.

The legislation would require satellite, cable and Internet broadcasters to all pay the same royalty rates at fair market value for the performance or distribution of digital sound recordings of music. It would also require the use of available and cost-effective technologies to prevent music theft.

"Unfortunately, the PERFORM Act stalled in the last Congress," Feinstein says. "However, I am hopeful that the Judiciary Committee under Senator Leahy's leadership will make time to examine this and other important intellectual property issues. This legislation is too important for it to languish for another Congress."

With the shift in power from Republicans to Democrats, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is now chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Former committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) is now ranking member.

Feinstein says that the PERFORM Act is designed to provide equity and parity
among the new platforms that provide radio-like services - cable, satellite,
and Internet. Currently, different rates standards are paid by these different companies, different conditions are applied to their performances, and the content protections have been outdated by ongoing technological advances.

"I believe this legislation is a good step forward in addressing a real problem that is occurring in the music industry, and I encourage discussion to ensure that this law will fully serve the needs of our emerging technologies," Feinstein says. "New radio services are allowing users to do more than simply listen to music. What was once a passive listening experience has turned into a forum where users can record, manipulate, collect and create personalized music libraries. As the modes of distribution change and the technologies change, so must our laws change."

"This early play by Sen. Feinstein and her colleagues should leave no doubt that policymakers continue to view parity among digital music services as a top priority," says Mitch Bainwol, RIAA chairman/CEO. "And a top priority it should be. Under the current system, satellite radio has been allowed to morph into a digital distribution service - shorting the creators of music, displacing licensed sales and threatening the integrity of the digital music marketplace in the process. We love satellite radio. But this is simply no way to do business. It's in everyone's best interest to ensure a marketplace where fair competition can thrive."