Wednesday, September 26, 2018

MMA Moves To President's Desk For Signature

The Music Modernization Act is heading to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law after the House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to approve the same version of the historic copyright legislation that passed the Senate last week.

According to The Tennessean, the House vote was largely procedural. The bill was already unanimously approved by the House, but the legislation returned for an additional vote in order to be reconciled with the Senate version.

Trump's signature is viewed as a certainty by backers of the legislation since it lawmakers from the Republican majority championed the bill throughout the process.

"Creators opened my eyes to the inequities in American copyright law during my first year in Washington. Since then, I have been listening to and working with creators across the nation to make our laws work in the 21st century for the entire music ecosystem," the bill's chief architect U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, said, adding that credit is due to the lead sponsors in the Senate, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, along with House co-sponsor Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York for spearheading the effort to pass the bill.

The Music Modernization Act overhauls how song are licensed for digital music services by creating a new organization, run by songwriters and music publishers, to identify copyright owners and pay them royalties. Currently, the onus for that tedious licensing work falls to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

The legislation also alters how federal judges set digital royalty rates with new terms more favorable to songwriters. Additionally, the bill creates a new provision requiring internet radio companies to pay artists and record labels royalties when they play songs recorded prior to 1972.

On his behalf, The National Association of Broadcasters released the following statement from
President and CEO Gordon Smith:

"NAB is proud to stand with our friends from every corner of the music industry and applauds House passage of the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. This critical legislation will benefit songwriters, legacy recording artists, producers, digital streaming services, and music listeners. The MMA is the culmination of a years-long process to find consensus solutions to music licensing problems. Its overwhelming support would not have been possible without the leadership of Representatives Collins and Jeffries, Senators Hatch, Whitehouse, Alexander and Coons, Chairmen Goodlatte and Grassley, and Ranking Members Nadler and Feinstein.

"We are particularly supportive of a provision in this legislation that ensures an enhanced congressional review of any DOJ changes to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. These decrees are essential to a functioning music marketplace, and any action to terminate them will now be preceded by appropriate Congressional oversight to protect the interests of songwriters, licensees, and consumers of music."

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