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Copyright Alliance Commends Reps. Collins and Jeffries on Introduction of Music Modernization Act (H.R. 4706)

January 18, 2018

Washington, D.C. – In a statement issued today, the Copyright Alliance commended Representatives Collins (R-GA) and Jeffries (D-NY) – as well as the original cosponsors Reps. Sessions (R-TX), Blackburn (R-TN), Black (R-TN), Crowley (D-NY), Cohen (D-TN), Lieu (D-CA), Bass (D-CA), Fleishmann (R-TN), Cramer (R-ND), and Cooper (D-TN) – for introducing the Music Modernization Act, H.R. 4706, and for their continued support of our nation’s creators.

The Music Modernization Act updates Section 115 of the Copyright Act to allow for blanket licensing of mechanical rights in musical works by digital services; creates a mechanical licensing collective that would administer those licenses and be operated by a board comprised of music publishers, songwriters, trade associations and licensees to administer the blanket licenses; and shifts to a “willing buyer/willing seller” standard for setting royalty rates and terms, by considering rates negotiated in the marketplace. The legislation also would make key changes to rate-setting proceedings for ASCAP and BMI songwriters by allowing for consideration of royalty rates for digital audio transmissions of sound recordings and randomly assigning a district court judge to hear rate-setting disputes.
This bill recognizes the value of the work that creators do and would help them get compensated accordingly – a principle that resonates not only with songwriters, but with recording artists, producers, legacy acts and many others in the music community. The Copyright Alliance supports the fair compensation of all creators for their work, and supports this legislation in its effort to achieve that goal.
According to Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, “We are pleased today to be able to voice our support for the Music Modernization Act, which aims to help songwriters and music publishers receive fair compensation for their work and enable them to earn a living through their creativity. The new music licensing system proposed in the bill represents an important and necessary updating of the music licensing process – one that was created over a hundred years ago and is no longer equipped to handle the volume of today’s music licensing needs in the digital marketplace – with a modern system governed by copyright owners and funded by digital services, thereby benefiting both creators and existing online music services and new future entrants.
“The bill, which represents months of collaboration and compromise across a variety of stakeholders, also alters the current rate court system by switching to random assignment of judges for rate-setting disputes, the process used in most federal court cases, and allows the rate courts to review all relevant market evidence when determining how songwriters are compensated.
“We thank Representatives Collins and Jeffries – and all who continue to work diligently on this pivotal legislation – for their steadfast leadership on the Music Modernization Act. While we appreciate that there is much more work to be done to protect the music creative community, this bill is a major step toward much needed reform for songwriters and others. We look forward to working with stakeholders and Congress as the bill moves forward.” A copy of the bill can be found here.

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