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Key proponent of performance royalties may leave Congressional post

Posted on: 01/16/2008

California Representative Howard Berman, who has played a major role in implementing performance royalty legislation impacting a variety of media, is likely to vacate his influential subcommittee post in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to an article from The Hollywood Reporter, the move hinges on the departure of another California congressman, Rep. Tom Lantos, whose retirement will open the chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Berman, currently chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, has long been considered a key ally to copyright owners and various entertainment industries. His impact on the performance royalty debate is mostly recently evidenced by his introduction of controversial legislation that would impose a new royalty obligation on broadcast radio.

According to the Hollywood Reporter item, Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., whom the article calls “one of the copyright industry’s biggest foes,” is considered to be “next in line” for Rep. Berman’s subcommittee post.

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