Legislation a 'first step' in striking balance.

U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), and senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation Tuesday (April 25) to require cable, satellite and Internet music providers to protect music they broadcast while allowing consumers to continue to record and replay programming.

The Feinstein-Graham PERFORM Act—the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2006—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 readily available and cost-effective technological means to prevent music theft.

The senators anticipate that the Act would help strike a balance between the promotion of technological advances in digital music delivery systems and the protection of -- and fair compensation for -- the intellectual property of the creators.

"New technologies and business models have become so advanced that the clear lines between a listening service and a distribution service have been blurred," says Feinstein. "This legislation is a good first step forward in addressing a real problem that is occurring in the music industry."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today (April 26) on the future of the digital radio industry.