October 11, 2018

President Signs into Law Major Music Reform Package

Grassley led bipartisan Music Modernization Act through Judiciary Committee

Washington, DC— Landmark legislation reforming the music licensing laws, which Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley steered through the committee process, was signed into law today.  The bipartisan Music Modernization Act, brings outdated music licensing laws into the 21st century and creates a fairer marketplace for songwriters and other content creators. It combines three previously introduced bills—the Music Modernization Act (MMA), the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, and the Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act. The package is supported by professionals across the music industry and makes a real difference for songwriters, recording artists, producers, sound engineers, digital music companies, and other music stakeholders.
 
“Though the way we listen to music may change over time, the lasting mark music creators from all generations leave with us does not,” Grassley said. “This broadly bipartisan package ensures that all music creators have the access to the royalties they’ve earned and that music lovers can better access these works of art. Thanks to the hard work of Senator Hatch and other colleagues, and President Trump’s support, we’ve addressed problems for these communities that have been entrenched for 15 years with this much-needed solution and reform package.”

The Music Modernization Act package was introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).  The legislation was unanimously advanced by the Judiciary Committee and received overwhelming support in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Background:
·       Musical Works Modernization Act:
o   This proposal creates a new, simplified licensing system to make it easier for digital music companies to obtain a license for songs.
o   The simplified system will also ensure songwriters are paid the royalties they are owed.
o   In addition, the bill revises outdated songwriter royalty standards to ensure songwriters are paid a fair market rate for their work. 
·       Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act:
o   In the 1970s, Congress extended federal copyright protections to sound recordings fixed after February 1972.
o   The CLASSICS Act requires digital music services to pay for the use of pre-1972 sound recordings in the same way and at the same rate they pay for recordings fixed after 1972.
o   SoundExchange, the entity that collects and distributes digital performance royalties for sound recordings, will collect royalties for pre-1972 recordings, as it does for recordings made after 1972.
·       Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act:
o   Under current law, although recording artists have a right to a percentage of the royalties collected for digital performances of sound recordings, producers and engineers have no such right.  
o   The AMP Act would establish a procedure for producers and engineers who worked on sound recordings to apply for a share of the royalties.
 
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