Access practice tools, as well as industry leading news, customizable alerts, dockets, and primary content, including a comprehensive collection of case law, dockets, and regulations. Leverage...
The House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would revamp digital music licensing rules, teeing it up for House floor action.
The Music Modernization Act ( H.R. 5447) would create a new royalty-collecting organization that would give streaming services like Spotify a one-stop shop to get permission to play recordings, rather than having to obtain licenses individually.
“This legislation, which is the first major update to our music licensing laws in decades, brings early 20th century music laws for the analog era into the 21st Century digital era,” committee chairman Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a statement.
Lawmakers approved the measure on a 32-0 vote without amendments. A senior House aide said the full House may vote on the bill within the next two weeks.
The measure also would create royalty rights for owners of copyrights in pre-1972 recordings played on digital services, and would give sound engineers and music producers royalties for use of recordings on which they worked.
Goodlatte combined three other bills to create the measure the committee approved. Three bills similar to the earlier three House bills are pending in the Senate.
The breadth of support for the bill on the Judiciary Committee indicates that it has enough backing to pass the House, according to Chris Harrison of the Digital Media Association, whose members include Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Apple, and other major digital music services.
DiMA; the National Association of Music Publishers; the Songwriters of North America; the American Society of Composer, Authors, and Publishers; and the Recording Industry Association of America are among the 20-plus industry organizations supporting the bill. They represent a range of interests, including streaming services, music publishers, songwriters, and music labels.
Ferras Vinh, policy counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a technology policy group, told Bloomberg Law that the inclusion of protection for pre-1972 recordings, which was known as the CLASSICS Act when it was a separate bill, may complicate the chances for enactment of the bill.
“As a standalone bill, the MMA would likely have a better chance of passing both houses of Congress,” Vinh said, referring to the earlier House legislation. “But the addition of the CLASSICS Act is a new wrinkle that may complicate its chances of passage.”
Public advocacy organization Public Knowledge sent a letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committee leadership last month objecting to the pre-1972 recordings provision in part because it “would apply coverage terms of up to two centuries to sound recordings that have already fallen into the public domain by any reasonable calculation.”
Public Knowledge also objects to a provision of the committee-approved bill that would direct the Copyright Royalty Board to determine royalty rates for statutory music licenses under what is called a “willing buyer, willing seller” standard. Under that standard, the board would recreate licensing fees that would have been negotiated between licensees and licensors in a market free of compulsory licenses.
Currently, the board sets royalties paid by Sirius XM Radio Inc. and a handful of older services under guidelines set by Section 801(b) of the Copyright Act, which includes considerations such as whether the copyright owner is getting “a fair return” and whether the music service is getting “a fair income.”
Digital music services Sirius XM Radio, Music Choice, and Mood Media Corp. objected in an April 9 letter to the jettisoning of the Section 801(b) standards in a letter to Goodlatte and the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
“There is no legitimate reason for now disrupting the current long-standing licensing regime through this unrelated change and sacrificing companies that provide valued music offerings to millions of customers and a meaningful outlet for artists and songwriters to share their music,” the three services said in their letter.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anandashankar Mazumdar in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at email@example.com
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)