Music Modernization Mega-Act Will Be Introduced To Congress

We just got word that Rep. Bob Goodlatte along with seven other sponsors will be introducing a new Music Modernization Act. This is a change many in the industry have been waiting several years for now. This time around it will include key changes from the previous legislative efforts on the old Music Modernization Act and will, in fact, mega-size it. The mega-sized bill is expected to be finalized on Wednesday and then shortly after move into the House of Representatives.

The new Music Modernization Act is a fusion of four individual legislative efforts into one giant-sized single bill. The bill’s goal is to change how mechanical royalties are collected.  But the new legislative effort now contains pieces of the CLASSICS Act, parts from the Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, and a version of the old Music Modernization Act for songwriters.

SiriusXM has been strongly against the CLASSICS Act in the past. If this bill is passed, it would force them and all other non-interactive digital services to pay record labels and artists for use of their recordings made prior to 1972. The AMP Act would create a dependable process to ensure that producers and engineers receive direct payments from a newly formed collection organization for their works used on digital services. While it hasn’t been started yet, many believe they will end up using SoundExchange to make this a reality.

Under the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, all radio services would pay a fair value established by the market for the use of sound recordings. In addition, the Music Modernization Act contains a safe harbor provision for music streaming platforms such as Spotify who has been under attack for several years now. These companies would no longer face copyright infringement lawsuits for statutory damages filed after January 1st, 2018. This wouldn’t affect existing lawsuits, though unfortunately.

NMPA President and CEO David Israelite issued a statement supporting the bill.

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) is the most significant update to music copyright law in a generation and represents unprecedented compromise among songwriter, music publisher, artist, record label, and digital music groups.  The Music Modernization Act will help ensure a healthy digital music ecosystem, most importantly for the songwriters who create the music that makes such an ecosystem even possible.  It was not easy to achieve a consensus package, but we are grateful for music champions like Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler who have worked to foster agreement and we are eager for them to move this bill forward.  A special thanks to Congressman Doug Collins for being the driving force behind the MMA.

Despite this statement, the Creators Coalition criticized the shortage of DMCA reform and AM/FM royalties.

While we have proposed ways that the legislation can be improved, and it doesn’t include some necessary pro-artist reforms – those that would empower artists to fight back against platform monopoly abuses by updating the DMCA or level the playing field with an AM/FM performance right – neither our enthusiasm in support of this legislation nor our fight for those reforms will diminish.

You can read the Music Modernization Act in its entirety below.