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Obama administration backs radio royalties

Published:Saturday | April 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP):

The Obama administration is supporting legislation to make radio stations pay royalties to performers when they play their music.

The Commerce Department's general counsel says the bill would "provide a level playing field for all broadcasters."

That counsel, Cameron Kerry, made the comments in a letter sent Thursday to Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Satellite radio, Internet radio and cable TV music channels already pay fees to performers and songwriters. However, AM and FM radio stations pay royalties only to the songwriters - not the performers.

The National Association of Broadcasters opposes the proposal, saying it threatens thousands of radio jobs.