NAB urges Senate to nix new digital recording legislation

The National Assn. of Broadcasters is urging the Senate to turn thumbs down on legislation that would establish performers’ rights for digital sound recordings.

NAB prez Eddie Fritts fired off a letter Friday telling lawmakers “there will be few bills this Congress which will be as vehemently opposed by the nation’s radio and TV stations.”

NAB has historically opposed the concept of performers’ rights, since such a proposal would likely carry a hefty pricetag for radio stations.

The bill, expected to be offered by Senate copyright subcommittee members Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), is similar to legislation pending in the House copyright subcommittee.

The proposal would give copyright holders the exclusive right to control digital transmission of their recordings on radio, cable TV and other emerging technologies.

Though the House bill has been embraced by the Recording Industry Assn. of America, songwriters and music publishers oppose the measure, claiming it could give too much power to the diskeries.

The Feinstein-Hatch bill will attempt to mollify songwriters and publishers by ensuring that the amount of music license fees they receive each year from broadcasters would not decrease as a result of the new legislation.

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