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Fight for Your Right

Does the U.S. belong with the Axis of Evil?

And when it comes to ownership, does the fact that George Strait didn't write "Amarillo by Morning" or Britney Spears "Oops! I Did It Again" make it any less theirs? When someone sings a song — and especially sings it well enough that radio programmers deem it worthy of broadcasting to millions of people several times a day — some notion of ownership inevitably transfers from the author to the performer. (And lest we forget, songwriters' rights aren't at issue here.)

After all, nobody calls a radio station to request Lukasz Gottwald, Claude Kelly and Max Martin's "My Life Would Suck Without You," Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins's "Before He Cheats" or Eddie Holland and Norman Whitfield's "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." They're thinking Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and the Temptations, of course.

It may pinch their pocketbooks a little, but it's time for radio stations to step up and start paying artists for the services they provide, the same way they would for office supplies or the dude who makes the bottled-water delivery every week.

Otherwise, where performers' rights are concerned, the U.S. will go right on ahead being part of the Axis of Evil. CHRIS GRAY

chris.gray@houstonpress.com

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