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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Satellite radio in downloads row
XM satellite radio
XM radio has a 70% market share in satellite radio in the US
Satellite radio companies in the US should compensate the music industry for downloads, US senators have said.

New devices allow satellite listeners to save songs on their radio receivers without paying to download them.

If passed, legislation would require broadcasters to pay market prices for the performance of digital music.

"The lines between a listening service and a distribution service have been blurred," said Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator for California.

Ms Feinstein is part of the cross-party group of lawmakers behind the proposed Perform Act - the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2006 - which aims to put satellite radio on the same footing as official download internet services.

MP3 digital music players produced by the XM satellite radio station, which broadcasts across the US, enable users to bookmark songs they hear on the radio for future purchase online.

'New tax'

"When I see a device that permits customers to identify the specific tracks they want from a satellite broadcast, record them and library them for future use, I call that device an iPod," said Edgar Bronfman, Warner Music Group chairman and CEO, in testimony endorsing the legislation.

In their own testimony, XM executives said that the devices in question are merely a hi-tech way to record its radio programmes.

XM chairman Gary Parsons said the bill would lead to "a new tax being imposed on our subscribers".

Another satellite station, Sirius, has already made deals with the major record companies that compensate them for downloads on its S-50 receiver.

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