The Obama Administration is backing the Performance Rights Act, which would require terrestrial radio stations to pay royalties to record labels when they play the labels' songs. Under current US law, radio stations pay royalties to music publishers and writers, but -- unlike in much of the world -- not to owners of sound recordings. In a letter to PRA backer and Senate Judiciary Commitee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Commerce Department General Counsel Cameron Kerry (Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) brother) said US government support for a public performance right in sound recordings dates back to 1978. The bill has been approved by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and is awaiting floor action in both bodies.
Commerce Department Letter on Performance Rights Act