The Most Significant Update to Copyright Law in a Generation Passes Committee

This week, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Music Modernization Act (MMA), written to ensure fair compensation across the music industry as technology changes the face of entertainment. Orlando Representative Val Demings (FL-10) is an original cosponsor of the MMA, and since her appointment to the committee last year has been working with artists and industry representatives to create a compromise bill which satisfies all parties.

“As Stevie Wonder told us, ‘music is a world within itself/with a language we all understand.’ But while the language of music may be universal, the laws that regulate artists and distributors are decades out of date. I am proud to cosponsor the Music Modernization Act, the first major upgrade to U.S. copyright law in decades,” said Rep. Demings.

The Music Modernization Act provides major updates to U.S. copyright law for the first time since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Rules on compulsory licenses were established in 1909.

“This bill is a compromise reached after painstaking negotiations, and will bring our copyright laws into the 21st century,” Rep. Demings added. “Artists, streaming services, and publishers rarely all agree on policy. The fact that this legislation has won broad support is a testament to the work done behind the scenes during its development. Musicians, technicians, writers, and everyone involved in the production of music should be fairly compensated for their work. The Music Modernization Act will ensure that our artistic community—which is a part of every joy and pain of life—remains vibrant, inventive, and rewarding.”

The MMA is designed to update several provisions of U.S. copyright law regarding music licensing, in order to:

  1. address modern digital music by creating a blanket licensing system to quickly license and pay for musical work copyrights;
  2. ensure that artists and copyright owners are paid in the first place without the present mountains of litigation;
  3. improve payment of royalties;
  4. implement uniform rate setting standards for all music services; and
  5. update how certain rate court cases are assigned in the Southern District of New York.

The version of MMA that the Committee will review today also incorporates the text of two other bills—the CLASSICS Act, which provides compensation for pre-1972 legacy artists, and the AMP Act, which would ensure that record producers, sound engineers, and other creative professionals receive compensation for their work. Rep. Demings is a cosponsor of all three earlier bills, MMA (H.R. 4706), CLASSICS (H.R. 3301) and AMP (H.R. 881), as originally introduced.


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