Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Senate Judiciary Committee
Protecting and Promoting Music Creation for the 21st Century
May 15, 2018
morning. Thank you for coming to our hearing on music policy and legislation to
improve the current music licensing framework. Today, industry stakeholders and
artists will testify about how to protect and promote music creation for the
21st century. We’re fortunate to have three talented artists on the panel, and
several more in our audience. I extend a warm welcome to everyone.
nation’s copyright laws have helped to make the United States a tremendous
force of creativity and artistry in the music world. The exclusive rights and
protections that our copyright laws grant are the foundation upon which
American creators and artists stand and thrive.
important that singers, songwriters, musicians, technical engineers, producers,
and all the men and women who support the creativity and artistry behind
American music, be rewarded for their efforts and incentivized to continue
producing their invaluable work.
enriches our lives and inspires our world. Every one of us has had a special
song that’s touched our heart, or linked to a fond memory. The magic of music
has always been and will never change. But the way people enjoy and listen to
their music has evolved. Times have changed from the days when people couldn’t
wait to get to their local record store and purchase their favorite album.
Today, many stream their favorite music using services like Amazon, Spotify,
Pandora, and Apple Music. Music lovers can access their favorite songs anywhere
and anytime on a variety of devices.
critical is that consumers are able to access their music legally, and that our
laws do not thwart people’s ability to legally enjoy their music and for
artists to be compensated for their creativity.
the music industry has continued to adapt to reflect technological developments
and changes in consumer preferences, the licensing framework which governs the
music industry has not. Instead, the law has attempted to play catch-up as the
industry has changed, resulting in a patchwork of music copyright and licensing
laws that have often fallen short.
current statutory scheme applies inconsistent rules that place certain
technologies at a disadvantage and result in inequitable compensation variances
for music creators. Music copyright and licensing laws have been criticized for
being too difficult to comply with, and for not adequately rewarding the
artists and professionals who create American music.
been a lot of discussion on how to improve the music licensing and copyright
regime to the benefit of the stakeholders involved in the creation and
distribution of music. In the House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee
Chairman Goodlatte held a number of hearings on copyright issues, including
those affecting the music industry. We collaborated with many interested
parties, copyright experts and the Copyright Office, to find a path forward on
music licensing. Multiple bills were introduced in both the House and Senate.
But songwriters, artists, publishers, producers and distributors, have
coalesced around three bills introduced in both the House and Senate.
bills are: 1) the Music Modernization Act, which among other things, would
create a mechanical licensing collective for all digital music, so that
streaming entities can find and compensate artists for their work; 2) the
CLASSICS Act, which would add copyright protection for pre-1972 sound
recordings; and 3) the AMP Act, which would allow for the payment of
performance royalties to producers, mixers and sound engineers of sound
Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte combined these three bills into one package, H.R.
5447, the Music Modernization Act, and was able to successfully shepherd the
comprehensive bill through the House of Representatives with an overwhelming
vote of 415-0.
in the Senate, Senator Hatch has introduced S. 2823, which contains identical
text to H.R. 5447. That bill currently has 17 cosponsors, including myself. And
that’s where we are today.
lot of hard work went into crafting and negotiating these three bills that were
combined into the comprehensive package, after which there was more negotiation
and compromise resulting in the present text of S. 2823. We’ve tried to reach a
consensus on what will work best for the music industry. Some concerns remain.
That’s natural. I’m hopeful that we can resolve outstanding concerns. But I
think that the 415-0 vote in the House is instructive on how much support there
importantly, the package is supported by music stakeholders on both sides, by
digital service providers as well as by music creators. They’ve coalesced
around the comprehensive bill. I’m encouraged by the momentum behind this
unified package and the possibility of Congress finally passing meaningful
reform in this area.
we’ll hear from a diverse panel of witnesses, including some very talented
singers and songwriters. Mr. Robinson, what a pleasure having a legend such as
yourself on the panel. Mr. Roberts and Mr. Kear, we’re so pleased to have you
here too. And let me mention Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Dionne Warwick, Darlene
Love, and Karla Redding, Otis Redding’s daughter, who are in the audience and
supportive of this effort. We don’t often have so much artistic talent in the
room, so we’re really lucky to have you all here.
look forward to hearing from our panelists about how the music licensing system
works for creators and users, whether the legislation we have before us will
help address problems, and whether there are issues or concerns that we should
licensing issues are ripe for reform, and it’s my sincere hope that today’s
discussion will start our process of moving this legislation forward here in