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Copyright Bill Would Target Download Devices

A pair of California representatives, Democrat Howard Berman and Republican Mary Bono, widow of singer Sonny Bono, have introduced legislation that would apply copyright payments to devices that turn broadcasts into digital downoads.

XM Satellite Radio has a portable device that allows listeners to create a playlist of XM songs and broadcasts, but does not allow them to be stored onto a computer.

Cable, satellite and Internet delivery of songs is already covered by a compulsory license, but some in Hollywood are concerned that artists are not being compensated for those downloads because they bypass the traditional delivery system covered by the license.

"Certain features of the new devices bypass the marketplace by allowing consumers to turn broadcasts into downloads,"said the legislators in a statement announcing the new bill,"creating an unlicensed music library without adequately paying the artist.  The PERFORM Act seeks the appropriate balance between fostering innovation of technology and ensuring rightful compensation to artists."

Congressfolk love to come up with clever acronyms and the Berman and Bono are no exceptions. PERFORM stands for Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music.

A Senate version of the bill has been introduced by,among others,Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.).