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They just don't hear the music!
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 23 March 2007 06:55
Compulsory music licenses to get Congressional overhaul courtesy of "Mr. Hollywood"
ARS Technica
By Nate Anderson | Published: March 22, 2007 - 11:37PM CT

Copyright law is packed with strange features, but here's one of the strangest: webcasters, satellite radio, and those music stations transmitted through your cable connection all have to pay performance rights both to the composers who wrote the song and the performers who played it. Terrestrial AM/FM radio stations, though, only pay the composer; the performer is allegedly getting "free promotion" and doesn't see a cent

. Howard Berman, the California Democrat who now heads the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, wonders if it's time for everyone to pay the same fees. "Is it finally time for a performance right to extend to terrestrial radio?" he said this morning. It was just one of the many questions raised at a committee hearing on reforming Section 115 of the Copyright Act, the part that covers compulsory licenses (the same kind of license that AllofMP3 claims to have under Russian law, and which the RIAA rejects). Reform of this section stalled last year, but Berman is giving it another shot.

Marybeth Peters, the Register of Copyrights, testified before the committee and said that "reform of the digital music licensing system is the most important music issue currently before Congress." Ambiguity about fees is crippling the market, she believes, and points as evidence to ongoing court cases in New York over what is owed to whom.... More

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