Former BMI pres/CEO honored for creative commitment.

Retired BMI president and CEO Frances W. Preston was chosen today (May 12) to receive the Guardian Award from the National Assn. of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) at the seventh annual Service to America Summit.

This year's award, to be presented at the June 13 summit in D.C., honors an individual or organization demonstrating commitment to creating an environment that protects the creative community.

For two decades Preston was a well-known figure on Capitol Hill who frequently testified in support of creators' rights. She played a key role in extending copyright protection to older compositions through the Copyright Amendments Act of 1992. That law amended Federal copyright law to provide an automatic copyright renewal system for all works copyrighted before January 1, 1978, thus eliminating registration filing requirements for a second term of copyright protection.

Preston was also instrumental in getting the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act passed in 1998, extending the copyright term to the life of the composer plus 70 years.

Preston joined BMI in 1958 and opened a regional office in Nashville. She was named VP of BMI in 1964 and, under her leadership, the southern operation grew from a staff of two to more than 400. She was appointed senior VP of performing rights in 1985 and president and CEO in 1986.

During her tenure, BMI's revenue grew more than three times to more than $673 million.

Although she retired from her position as president and CEO of BMI in 2004, she continues to represent BMI in its relationships with the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).

Preston devotes much of her time as the non-salaried president of the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research. In 1992, she received the charity's Humanitarian Award. Her involvement led to the creation of the Frances Williams Preston Research Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville.