Friday, July 21, 2017

The Classic Act Designed To 'Restore Some Equity'

Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation that would grant copyright protection to recordings created prior to 1972, with Issa calling the bill “an important and overdue fix to the law.”

The representatives unveiled H.R. 3301 — the “Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society Act,” also known as the Classics Act — which would bring sound recordings created before 1972 into the federal copyright system and would ensure that digital transmission of recordings made before and after 1972 would be treated equally.

“This an important and overdue fix to the law that will help settle years of litigation and restore some equity to this inexplicable gap in our copyright system,” Issa said in a press release jointly issued by the lawmakers. “It makes no sense that some of the most iconic artists of our time are left without the same federal copyright protections afforded to their modern counterparts. This bill is the product of a great deal of work to build consensus across party lines and varying interests all over the music and entertainment landscapes on how to best resolve this long-standing problem.”

According to Law360, the bill unveiled Wednesday serves as an update to the "pre-72" provision of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, a bill that the representatives re-introduced in March. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act aims "to create a modern and uniform system of rules governing music licensing for digital and terrestrial radio broadcasts," according to a press release issued earlier this year.

The lawmakers noted that Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., have joined as original co-sponsors of the bill.

Pre-1972 recordings are legally murky because when Congress created a separate copyright for sound recordings in 1971 under the Sound Recording Amendment of 1971, the law only applied to works created on or after Feb. 15, 1972. The older recordings are protected in many states by quasi-copyright systems, but streaming services and radio stations didn’t think those laws required performance royalties.

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