Lawmakers convened at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday urged radio broadcasters to open a dialogue with recording artists on performance rights and royalties, as committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D- VT) advised broadcasters that legislation mandating royalty payments “will move” and should therefore “reflect your interests.” While applauding recent “significant progress” on the issue between the recording industry and pureplay webcasters, which reached agreement last month on rates to replace those established by the Copyright Royalty Board, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) affirmed that committee members are prepared to mark up performance rights legislation (S-379) this fall that is intended to achieve parity in royalty payments across all platforms. The Senate measure incorporates provisions of a parallel House bill (HR-848) that was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in May. Speaking on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), whose members strongly oppose the legislation, Commonwealth Broadcasting President Steven Newberry told the panel that “it makes little sense to siphon revenues from local broadcasters to prop up the recording industry’s past failings and ill-advised business decisions,” especially as artists already benefit financially from record sales generated by radio air play. Arguing that the bill would thus create a new “entitlement” for the recording industry, Newberry added: “this would be the worst time to impose additional fees on local radio stations” that already are reeling from the effects of the economic downturn. In reply, Leahy noted that a provision in the House bill that set a flat annual royalty rate of $500 for small stations provides “less than what most radio stations pay their lobbying organizations,” as he promised that the committee “will . . . consider similar amendments to address the legitimate concerns of smaller broadcasters.”