The House unanimously passed legislation aimed at updating music licensing and copyright law Wednesday.
The Music Modernization Act — a bipartisan bill introduced by members on the House Judiciary Committee — reforms the way royalties are collected and reforms the way artists and labels are compensated in the digital age.
Under the new law, an entity would be created to distribute and collect mechanical royalties.
According to The Hill, members on both sides of the aisle praised its passage and called on the upper chamber to take action on the legislation.
"[Rep.] Doug Collins ((R-Ga.) worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the music community to make sure that the reforms passed in the overwhelming fashion that it did. I look forward to the Senate acting on this legislation soon."
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) noted that the bill “doesn’t address everything” – notably omitting performer payment for radio airplay – but stresses it makes significant improvements. Goodlatte summed up those improvements in four specific areas, saying it will:
- Improve a dysfunctional mechanical licensing system “that seems to generate more paperwork and attorneys’ fees than royalties.”
- Ensure royalty protection for pre-1972 performances
- Provide a statutory right to recognition for adjunct creators, including producers, sound engineers, and mixers lack of a unified rate standard for music royalties
- The MMA combines four separate legislative initiatives into a single bill that will update how music rates are set and how songwriters and artists are paid.
“NAB applauds the House passage of the Music Modernization Act, which provides a consensus solution to music licensing issues facing songwriters, music publishers, and on-demand streaming services. We especially thank Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Nadler, and Representatives Collins, Jeffries, and Issa for their work to address the concerns of America’s hometown radio and television stations. We look forward to working with lawmakers in the Senate to advance this important legislation.”
The bill now heads to the Senate, which will address the legislation next month.