In the News
Posted on September 25, 2018
Tennessean: Music Modernization Act clears the House, heads to president to be signed
By: Nate Rau
September 25, 2018
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.
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 licensign work falls to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
There have been expensive lawsuits and expensive settlements because services didn't handle the licensing process correctly.
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.
The Music Modernization Act was backed by songwriters, publishers, labels, artists, performance rights organizations, streaming services, broadcasters and broader groups representing the entire music industry.
It took that level of unprecedented cooperation to propel the bill to the brink of becoming law.
"After many months moving through Congress, we are thrilled to see the Music Modernization Act officially passed," NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said. "Now, only days stand between tonight’s House vote and this bill becoming law."