US lawmakers are debating the extension of copyrights law to include payment to performance artists for music played on AM and FM radio. The
law, as it stands today, requires broadcasters to pay songwriters, but not music performers. The Bipartisan Performance Rights Act will, if
passed, require AM and FM radio stations to pay a flat rate to both songwriters as well as performance artists, just as satellite radio stations and
cable companies are required to. But critics say record companies will pocket the revenues.
Jennifer Bendal of MusicFIRST, an organization committed to ending what it calls the dishonest practices of AM and FM radio stations, said "performers are entitled to a share of the proceeds". But broadcasters say musicians benefit greatly from free publicity.
National Association of Broadcasters' spokesperson Denis Wharton said, "The act will cripple an artist's number one promotional vehicle--free radio airplay.It will transfer millions of dollars from America's hometown radio stations into the coffers of foreign record labels."
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