Senate to hear royalty flap

Bill gets hearing on August 4

A bill to require broadcast stations to pay performers when their songs are played on the radio will get a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Aug. 4.

The House Judiciary Committee passed a similar bill to levy a royalty on radio stations on a 21-9 vote in May. That bill includes a tiered system based on the revenue of stations and whether it is a commercial or public broadcaster. AM and FM stations pay songwriters and publishers when their music is played, but not performers.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) will preside over the Senate hearing.

The bills have pitted the music business against the broadcast industry, in an often bitter lobbying effort that has seen performers like Billy Corgan and will.i.am and radio personalities like Tom Joyner weighing in.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the committee, is the sponsor of the bill. Feinstein is a co-sponsor along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

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