The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property today approved the Performance Rights Act (H.R. 4789), which will establish that terrestrial radio should compensate recording artist with a performance royalty for broadcasted songs. Now, the bill must be reviewed by the House Committee on the Judiciary.

The bill also takes into consideration smaller radio stations, saying those with gross revenues of less than $1.25 million should pay a flat annual fee in lieu of royalty performance payments, while granting an exemption to royalty payments for broadcasts of religious services and incidental use of musical sound recordings.

In anticipation of the Subcommittee vote, Nancy Sinatra wrote a letter dated June 24 to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, reminding her that music is "solely responsible for $16 billion annually in advertising revenues collected by the radio conglomerates, of which artists receive nothing."

In noting the subcommittee approval, Digital Media Assn. executive director Jonathan Potter said that he is pleased that the several members of the Subcommittee commented on further amendments such as "platform parity" that may be considered for inclusion in the bill.

"We were pleased to hear ... that the Performance Rights Act may be broadened, so that in its final form it will not simply address broadcast radio royalties, but rather may ensure that all radio technologies - broadcast, cable, satellite and Internet - are treated equally under the law," Potter said in a statement.

Webcasters already have to pay a performance royalty, thanks to a March 2007 ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board, which set performance royalty rates for copyright owners and performers that apply to satellite radio, cable and Internet radio streaming. But fees were modified, after Congressional pressure, resulting in further negotiations between, Sound Exchange, which collects royalties, and Webcasters.

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