The Performance Rights Act - which would require radio stations to pay royalties to artists and labels for songs they broadcast over the air - will be reintroduced into the new 111th Congress this week, according to a letter signed by members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

Songwriters already receive royalties when their songs are broadcast but the legislation is aimed at ending the exemption that terrestrial radio currently enjoys from paying royalties to artists, musicians and master recordings copyright owners.

Webcasters, satellite radio, cable radio services and all other non-terrestrial broadcasters already pay both performance and songwriting royalties, as does terrestrial radio in every one of the 30 countries that comprise the Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development, except for the U.S., according to a primer that A2IM sent its members today.

The planned legislation, which will be submitted by the chairman of the Judiciary Committee John Conyers; Rep. Howard L. Berman; Rep. Darrell Issa; Rep. Marsha W. Blackburn; and Rep. Paul W. Hodes, was previously introduced in the prior 110trh congressional session as H.R. 4789, and in the Senate as S. 2500 on Dec. 18, 2007.

Artists and labels have been lobbying for artist performance royalties from radio stations for years, while the National Assn. of Broadcasters has long opposed paying such royalties under the claim that radio play serves as promotion that drives music sales.